The survey examined consumer perception of, and interest in, sourdough, as well as any gaps in knowledge, in order to ascertain how best to communicate the health, history and flavour benefits of sourdough.
Puratos UK, part of the international baking, patisserie and chocolate ingredients business, has reported there is significant growth potential for sourdough consumption in the UK following a new international survey, conducted by Fedima,1 on behalf of Puratos, of over 5,000 consumers from nine European countries.2
Nearly half (47 percent) of the UK population reportedly buy sourdough and these consumers are also more likely to look at food labels, have a food allergy and follow a specific diet, according to Puratos UK. Sourdough is bought by all socio-demographic groups and Puratos has suggested that, with increased awareness and knowledge about sourdough, the UK can reach the higher consumption levels enjoyed in Spain, Italy and Poland.
Some key figures from Puratos UK are as followed:
Supermarkets currently dominate sourdough bread sales, with 82 percent purchasing their sourdough bread there
27 percent of consumers buy sourdough from an artisan or high street baker
16 percent of consumers buy sourdough from the local convenience store
22 percent of consumers bake bread themselves and almost two thirds (62 percent) use sourdough to do so.
The main reasons for UK consumers to buy sourdough bread, as reported by Puratos UK, are taste (55 percent); thinking it is more natural (32 percent), considering it healthier than other breads (28 percent) and that it stays fresh for longer (25 percent).
Sourdough also appears to be considered a quality option, with 64 percent of those surveyed saying they think of it as an artisanal product, 60 percent considering it a premium product and 55 percent feeling that the bread stands for tradition.
While there were reportedly no fundamental barriers to buying sourdough bread, 42 percent said they did not buy it because they are not familiar with it, 30 percent said they always buy the same bread, 26 percent believed it to be more expensive, 21 percent did not know how to recognise it and 11 percent cited lack of availability. One in five people (20 percent) said they did not like the ‘acid’ taste.
When it comes to recognising sourdough in bread, 58 percent of people said they would check the product label, 43 percent would recognise the taste, 25 percent would ask and 21 percent would recognise the texture and bread crumbs.
However, it was reported that UK consumers have a less clear idea than other high consumption countries on exactly what sourdough is or does. 68 percent knew it is a way to make bread, 60 percent knew it as an ingredient in bread, 54 percent knew it as a fermentation agent and 47 percent knew it replaces yeast. 12 percent of UK consumers said they have never heard of sourdough.
“In addition to exploring sourdough consumption habits both in the UK across Europe, this is a very positive piece of market research in terms of showing the growth potential for sourdough in the UK. More investment should be made in communicating the benefits of sourdough in order to boost sales,” said Lee Burnside, Sales Director at Puratos UK.