Navigating a changing Danish bread market
The bread market in Denmark has transformed dramatically in recent years as consumer preferences have changed. The share of organic, healthy raw materials and wholegrain in bread consumption is growing and has, together with price, become the deciding purchasing factors.
“Consumers increasingly demand products with a low salt content, no preservatives, natural flour without chemical straw shortening agents and lots of wholegrain. The bread must increasingly be organic”, says Allan Christiansen, CEO of Schulstad.
"We have baked and sold organic bread for 12-15 years. We have really felt that demand for organic has become massive, and an eco-label is increasingly a deciding factor for which bread to purchase. It places new demands on us as bakers, and we are therefore constantly working to develop new and improved products.”
The new demands of consumers have had a significant impact on Schulstad's product development in recent years and resulted in Schulstad focusing more on their natural credentials.
"At Schulstad, the decline we have seen in traditional Danish bread consumption has been crucial for our product development and marketing. For example, in 2016 we launched bread with chia seed, and after only one year we now sell chia bread for DKK 50 million. That’s why we’ve launched a new Schulstad communication platform that will emphasize the naturalness that has always characterized our products. We use healthy and superior ingredients - never preservatives or chemical straw shortening agents. We have always baked great quality bread, but now we would like to shout that from the rooftop”, says Allan Christiansen.
Example of how Lantmännen Unibake Denmark communicates naturalness (In Danish)
Collaboration with retailers
According to Allan Christiansen, co-operation between bread producers and retailers is paramount for bread producers to comply with consumer wishes and requirements.
"If we want to succeed in selling more bread in stores and supermarkets, it is important that we work together with the trade and launch some products with a price point closer to, for example Lagkagehuset and Emmerys (edit. chains of bakeries in Denmark). It gives us freedom in terms of quality ingredients and innovation, and it is the prerequisite for developing tomorrow's new exciting products”, says Allan Christiansen, and continues:
"My task now is to convince retailers that consumers would like to spend, for example DKK 25 for a delicious organic bread baked in a large bakery, so we can continue to launch new exciting and healthy bread with natural ingredients.”
In Denmark, more than 200 million packs of bread are sold each year at a total value of over DKK 2.5 billion. Schulstad, Denmark's largest producer of fresh bread, grew by 7.7 percent in 2016 to a revenue of DKK 893 million. The total market volume has risen by 1.6 percent - split into a flat development for rye bread and a growth of 3.3 percent for wheat bread.