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Gira knows food – and most of the actors in the European food chain. We operate in the drink and food sectors and the food-based retail chain throughout the whole of Europe and worldwide in some product sectors such as meat, fish and dairy.

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NOW AVAILABLE! COVID-19 Crisis - Impact on European bakery markets

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    • NOW AVAILABLE! COVID-19 Crisis – Impact on European bakery markets
Mar, 12, 2021

COVID-19 Crisis – Impact on European bakery markets

It is a challenge to be positive in these extraordinary circumstances. Uncertainty over a wave of the pandemic, the timing of foodservice recovery and concern over the economic impact are all reducing demand. We thought we had returned to a certain “New Normal” in summer 2020, but the third wave came and there are still big uncertainties about vaccination campaigns and the impact of new variants. What has been the impact of this crisis for the bakery industry, and what will be the consequences in the coming months?


Bakery Products Consumption in Europe 2020 & 2021 compared to 2019 (base case scenario)


European bakery consumption down by 8% in 2020

Overall, there has been an 8% drop in European bakery consumption in 2020. Packaged products have experienced over 5% growth in 2020 compared to 2019, while the consumption of fresh products has decreased by 13%.

Packaged long-life ambient products are therefore the big winners of the pandemic, especially packaged bread, which has seen double digit growth during lockdown. Protective packaging has given consumers great reassurance, and this is a trend that should continue in the long term. In many countries, packaged bakery products have also been favoured by supermarkets, as fresh bakery counter staff have often been assigned to other departments and many in-store laboratories have closed, at least temporarily.

Gira estimates that in 2021 consumption will not come back to 2019, even if consumption may increase; and future 2025 trends are linked with the recovery of the foodservice sector.

Fresh bakery product supply strategies to be reconsidered, but only temporarily?

The COVID-19 crisis has also had an impact on bakery product supply strategies. During lockdown, the use of bake-off increased to the detriment of scratch baking on the premises, which faced problems of labour shortages and new sanitary constraints. Fresh bakery products deliveries (for resale) have decreased during lockdown, due to the difficulties of ensuring daily deliveries. However, in some countries new opportunities have emerged for industrial fresh products.

At a European level, Gira’s calculations for 2020 indicate a 15% decrease in artisanal fresh bakery product production (artisan bakers, modern retailers’ in-store bakeries and restaurants), whereas industrial production (packaged, fresh and bake-off products) has only seen a 5% reduction.

In 2021, with fresh bakery consumption recovery, artisanal and industrial production should grow. For the medium term (2025), no real shift in supply structure is anticipated. However, except for bake-off, other bakery productions will not have recovered 2019 pre-crisis level.

In the future, winning manufacturers will be those capable of decreasing their level of exposure to a specific channel (e.g. foodservice), their degree of product specialisation, and those who will have the ability to switch from one technology to another (fresh versus packaged, or different bake-off technologies).

Gira’s 120-page COVID-19 crisis report, which covers baseline and downside case assumptions, a global bakery overview and chapters on each of the 14 main European countries as well as an excel database, was published on the 12th of March 2021. To access full details on this study, click here. If you wish to discuss this study directly with our Bakery Director, Anne Fremaux, you may contact her on +33 679 443 942 or a.fremaux@girafood.com.