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Commodity Innovation Series – Snapshot of Opportunities in the United Kingdom's Grain Sector

Market trends

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is the fifth-largest consumer of bread in Western Europe

  • Consumer trends toward healthy eating and natural products are increasing the demand for specialty breads with functional ingredients that are high in protein, rich in dietary fibre, and that contain antioxidants such as magnesium, iron, and folate
  • "Super grains", such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat, offer baked goods and flour companies a variety of options for taking advantage of current health trends and increasing price-point

Grain trade

  • The U.K. is the twenty-second largest importer of grains in the world and the sixth-largest in the European Union (EU), with imports worth US$1.2 billion in 2016
  • In 2016, Canada was the U.K.'s third-largest supplier of grains in the world, worth US$92.1 million
  • 73% of the U.K.'s grain imports were maize, wheat and muslin, and semi-milled or wholly milled rice. The combined import value of these products was US$909.6 million in 2016

Historic and forecast retail sales

Top 5 processed food categories containing grains in the U.K. in 2016
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  • Bread: 50%
  • Cakes: 35%
  • Dessert Mixes: 1%
  • Frozen Baked Goods: 2%
  • Pastries: 12%

The energy bars category experienced the most growth with sales increasing by 181.7% from 2012 to 2016

Grains used as an ingredient

From 2012 to 2016, 172 products containing wheat and oats were launched in the U.K.

Top companies launching the most value-added products from 2012 to 2016 and their top brands in the U.K.
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Company Number of products launched Top Brand
Kellogg 27 Special K
Asda 12 Asda
Tesco 12 Tesco Finest
Morrisons 10 M Signature WM Morrison
Quaker Oats 8 Oat So Simple

British consumers want clean labels and products with reduced fat and sugar content

Top 5 growing claims

  1. Ethical – Environmental
  2. Bone Health
  3. Social Media
  4. Low/No/Reduced Trans fat
  5. Genetically modified organism (GMO) Free

Top 5 declining claims

  1. Vegetarian
  2. Wholegrain
  3. High/Added Fiber
  4. Slimming
  5. Female

Consumers are increasingly seeking products in convenient or miniature formats

Top package type

  1. Flexible
  2. Flexible stand-up pouch
  3. Tub
  4. Bottle
  5. Carton

Top packaged materials

  1. Plastic
  2. Metallised film
  3. Polypropylene plastic
  4. Multi laminate
  5. Coloured glass

63% of product launches were new products, varieties, ranges and extensions.

Top innovative markets for grains (wheat and oats) in the world
Innovation Criteria United States France Australia Germany Mexico UK Brazil Spain Canada China
Relaunch Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Fair Good Low
New Product Good Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good Good Very good Good Excellent
Product Line Diversity Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair
Health and Wellness Claims Excellent Very good Excellent Very good Excellent Excellent Very good Very good Very good Very good
Product Innovation Rating Scale: Excellent (17-20), Very good (13-16), Good (9-12), Fair (5-8), Low (0-4)

Factors of consideration

Recommendation for entry

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