Brioche, as a category, has been in growth consistently over the past three years. In 2018, the category was worth $108mn, but by the end of 2020, the brioche sector had more than doubled, with category value standing at $290mn.
There are myriad reasons why the market has shifted so dramatically. Part of it is thanks to category leader, St Pierre. An authentic, French product, St Pierre launched into the US in 2014 and has steadily invested in building brand awareness, driving trial and creating a new and exciting category in US bakery. This combination of sustained activity now puts its brand value in excess of $100mn and secures its place as America's favorite brioche brand.
In fact, Nielsen data (March 2021) shows that St Pierre is key to driving value for retailers and is responsible for a third of the market. St Pierre has driven the Brioche category with 63 percent brand growth year-on-year, whilst the rest of the category has grown at 61 per cent. However, if you note that in the past year, the bakery category in which brioche sits has only grown by 8 per cent, it's clear to see the opportunity in offering consumers an upgrade from bread to brioche.
Research shows that 34 per cent of consumers are buying brioche every time they go grocery shopping. The message here is clear – if you're not offering brioche, you're watching money walk out of the door.
So, how does the brand plan to keep brioche front and center? Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Bakery explains "We've spent the past seven years educating shoppers on how to use brioche and working with retailers to encourage shoppers to try something new. If more than a third of American shoppers are now choosing brioche every time they shop, then we've done something right. Now, the plan is to take our proven formula, innovate with our range and deliver more exciting products across new segments of the bakery market. That's why August this year will see St Pierre launch its Brioche Bagel."
Pre-pandemic, the total bagels market was worth $1.03bn and at the end of 2019 was in value growth of 2.3 per cent year on year. However, after more than 12 months of working from home and COVID-19 restrictions, the once-humble midweek breakfast and lunchtime meal occasions have grown substantially – and with them, the popularity of bagels.
What’s more, growth in the bagel sector is being driven by unflavored or plain bagels, which at the end of 2019 already made up the bulk of the market (40 per cent share) and were growing ahead of the sector at more than 5 per cent.
Baker continues "Any product we launch under the St Pierre brand is borne of consumer insight and retailer demand. Our research shows that consumers are willing not only to try more new products, but also to spend more in doing so. If a third are already buying brioche and shoppers are already driving $1bn in bagel sales every year, then it makes sense to offer a brioche bagel and capitalize on the growth of both sectors."
The new St Pierre product draws on the expertise of the category leader, delivering all the attributes of brioche that American consumers know and love, but in a new format to inspire new eating occasions driven by the shift in consumer habits.
Market research results from St Pierre Bakery revealed that four out of five existing brioche buyers would purchase Brioche Bagels and 91 per cent would eat them for breakfast.
However, according to a nationwide online survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by General Mills Foodservice in 2021, consumers are eating more breakfast foods than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic and not just in the morning hours.
Nearly a quarter of Americans report eating more breakfast foods (24 percent) and four in five Americans (79 percent) say they have eaten breakfast foods outside of the traditional breakfast meal in the past year.
"The pandemic has caused significant shifts in consumer behaviors when it comes to meal times and home-cooking. Retailers now have a unique opportunity to engage their customers with products that cater to these emerging trends.
"As a brand, the launch of St Pierre Brioche Bagels will also allow us to secure further space in the in-store bakery. In Meijer, the Brioche Bagels will be distributed through our innovative Eiffel Tower displays giving us an even greater brand presence in the in-store bakery area where traditionally, brands aren't able to activate."
St Pierre Brioche Bagels will be available through Meijer stores from August 2021. For more information on stockists, product range or launches, visit www.stpierrebakery.com.