Other industry data

Wheat and flour production and usage

The UK flour milling industry is a vibrant sector that combines traditional skills with modern technology to produce a wide range of flours. Flour milling in the UK today is an automated and efficient industry, having evolved a long-way from the days of water-driven and wind-driven mills. Modern mills function as continuous-flow operations throughout the year. It is compact and highly efficient with a total turnover from all sources of approximately £1.25 billion per year. The UK is self-sufficient in flour with a small positive trade balance.

UK flour mills process 5 million tonnes of wheat each year, 85% of which is home grown.  The popularity of milling varieties and the quality of recent harvests has led to an increase in domestic usage by flour millers, now at one of its highest recorded levels.  The remainder of wheat comes from Canada, the USA, France and Germany and is sourced for particular functionalities.Flour is used as the main ingredient in bread, but also in biscuits, cakes, pies, soups and a range of processed foods.

About 69% of flour produced in the UK is used in the manufacture of bread products, with the remainder being used in a huge diversity of food products.

Flour is a vital source of many vitamins and minerals and low in fat and sugars.  It provides 37% of the fibre, 35% of the calcium and 31% of the iron in our diet.

For more information see the latest Nabim wheat guide 2019.

For more information on wheat milling and flour production in the UK please visit nabim’s website at www.nabim.org.uk

Bread consumption

Bread was the most popular item purchased in 2017/18 with 99.8% of households buying it.

The equivalent of nearly 12 million loaves are sold each day.

Approximately 75% of the bread we eat is white and sandwiches are thought to account for 50% of overall bread consumption.

Average bread purchases are the equivalent of 43 loaves per person per year.

According to the government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, median bread consumption per person is approximately 90 grams per day, higher for men (113g) than for women (76g).

Large bakeries, which produce wrapped and sliced bread, account for 80% of UK bread production. In store bakeries produce about 17% of bread, with the remainder accounted for by high street bakeries.

Defra statistics reports

Family Food 2017/18

Defra report on family food consumption in the UK is the successor to the national food survey which started in the 1940’s. The report is based on the results of their Expenditure and Food Survey. Data is collected for a sample of households in the United Kingdom using self-reported diaries of all purchases, including food eaten out, over a two week period. The report includes estimates of household food and drink purchases, expenditure, and energy and nutrient intakes per person in the UK in 2017-18. It also includes estimates of food and drink purchased for consumption outside the home (ie. eating out), longer term trends, regional analyses and demographic analyses.

The full Report is available to download from: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/food/familyfood/

Associated information including past reports can be also be found on the Family Food pages of the Defra statistics website.