The “Bake Off effect”- Anticipating customers’ kneads

Sep 06, 2016

Now in its seventh series, the much-loved UK television show Great British Bake Off (GBBO) has returned to our screens once again. With the first episode of the series airing to 10 million viewers, #GBBO is now the third most important event in the home baking calendar, behind only Christmas and Easter. GDR Innovation Researcher Harriet Cox explores the “Bake Off effect”. 

Research by Verdict Retail predicts that the UK cooking and baking market will grow by £21.4m to £1.1bn this year, as the “Bake Off effect” sweeps the country. But how can brands and retailers align themselves with what has become a British institution and secure a slice of the action?

As the series progresses, social media will undoubtedly play a key role in ensuring retailers are ready with a quick response at the shelf, putting products in customers’ hands at the right moment. Each week the show reveals what the Bake Off challenge will be the following week, giving retailers a small hint at what ingredients will be in demand. But, ultimately, it is down to the agility of in-house buying teams to rise to the challenge, working closely with online and social media teams to monitor trending topics and unexpected ingredients.

Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Sue Perkins in the tent

Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Mel Giedroyc in the tent

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, the weeks leading up to the series saw retailers taking to social media to promote recipe ideas, spark baking related conversation and push products that can be used to create the ultimate showstopper.

Engaging with the social media buzz surrounding the show, kitchen and cookware brand Lakeland has launched its #mylakelandbake competition. Inviting the public to bake treats in line with the programme’s theme each week, participants must submit photos of their showstoppers via Twitter, Instagram or its blog using the competition’s hashtag for a chance to win £50 worth of Lakeland vouchers.

The retailer witnessed first-hand the impact that Bake Off can have on sales when the demand for its anti-gravity cake kits skyrocketed after last year’s winner Nadiya Hussain used one to make a floating drink can magically hover above a cheesecake. “Our original anti-gravity cake kit is now in our top five bakeware best sellers,” Veronica Davidson, the brand’s bakeware buyer, revealed to The Guardian.

Supermarkets have also reported huge spikes in the sale of featured ingredients after the show airs each week. Last series, Waitrose reported a 180% rise in the sale of goldenberries, flaked almond sales increased by 103% and crystallised ginger sales rose by a whopping 315%.

Anastasia Duncanson has been appointed as the UK’s first official 'Bake Officer' by Morrisons.

Anastasia Duncanson has been appointed as the UK’s first official ‘Bake Officer’ by Morrisons.

Tackling what’s trending, this year Morrisons supermarket has appointed a dedicated ‘Bake Officer’. Tasked with making sure the shelves in its 492 stores are fully stocked, not only with baking basics, but also wild card ingredients that appear on the show – the Bake Officer will be required to stay in tune with the retailer’s customer base and react fast to online chatter surrounding the show.

While physical retailers are making sure the shelves are fully stocked, there is also a focussed effort on e-commerce. With 31% of cooking and baking shoppers conducting research online, supermarkets are making sure baked goods and ingredients are front of mind. Content featuring recipes and suggestions aims to inspire customers to get their bake on, or at the very least to enjoy a sweet treat.

Sainsbury's made sure their e-commerce site was full of baking inspiration and products from the show

Sainsbury’s made sure their e-commerce site was full of baking inspiration and products from the show

Sainsbury’s, for example, is targeting those who are Baking Bad or just Berry lazy (sorry!) at the online checkout. It is prompting customers to add treats that have featured in the show, such as Viennese Whirls and Jaffa Cakes, to their baskets at the point of purchase.

With bread week fast approaching we’re hoping that retailers can rise to the challenge and continue to prove their worth.

Ready. Set. Baaaaaakkkkke!

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