About the bread industry

The UK Bakery market

The UK Bakery market is worth £5 billion and is a large sector of the UK food industry. Total volume at present is over 4.5 billion units; the equivalent of over 11 million loaves and packs sold every single day.

There are three principal sectors that make up the UK baking industry. The larger (plant) baking companies produce around 85% of bread sold in the UK. In-store bakeries (ISBs) within supermarkets produce about 12% and high street retail (craft) bakers produce the rest.

 Market share of UK bread production by value and volume

% by value % by volume
 Large plant bakers  75 85
 In-store bakeries  20 12
 High street bakers  5 3
 Total  100 100

Source: Gira

Plant Bakeries

Plant bakeries produce mainly wrapped bread on a large scale. Three quarters of all the bread consumed in the UK is wrapped and sliced – for convenience, for keeping qualities and value for money.

Many (but not all) plant manufacturers also produce bread for sale under retailer labels — including convenience stores and major multiple retailers — as well as their own branded breads.

The three largest manufacturers in the plant sector are Allied Bakeries, Hovis and Warburtons.  These three manufacturers account for approximately 80% of the bread market by value.

In-Store Bakeries

ISB (in-store bakery) bread is bread that is baked in-store. The large multiple retailers have ISBs in all, or most of their stores.

There are 2 methods for ISBs: scratch bakery using raw ingredients or bake-off using dough which is part-baked and frozen. Most plant bakers supply ISBs with their own part-baked and frozen products, but many of the larger ISBs now have scratch bakeries making bread fresh from raw ingredients.

Craft Bakeries

Craft bakers typically bake bread and bakery products on their own premises and this sector has been declining for many years, squeezed by competition both from plant bakers and multiple retailers. Many craft bakers have now diversified into catering and takeaway food, and some are also supplying supermarkets with craft-baked bread.

The Foodservice Sector

In common with other food markets, an increasing amount of bread is being sold for consumption outside the home.


In contrast to the UK, craft bakeries still dominate the market in many European countries which means that exports of bread and bakery products currently account for only a very small proportion of the total market. However there is increased interest on the continent in importing fresh sliced and wrapped bread from Britain, mainly for the growing sandwich market. A number of UK plant bakers also export part-baked and frozen bakery products to retailers and the foodservice industry in Europe and elsewhere.

For further information on the UK bread industry please refer to our current Annual Report 2023 and our latest UK Bakery Market Overview – March 2023.