Bread and Economy

Given its cultural aspect, bread represents a strong economic sector in Europe. Source of diverse jobs, the bread production highlights a value creation chain that has to be visible throughout our societies. The European Bakery sector is composed by more than 190,000 SMEs and 2.200 large companies employing more than 2 million people in the EU.


In the EU27, the bread market is around 32 million tonnes and represents 79.000 EUR million in 2014. Bread consumption patterns differ widely within the EU but most countries have an average consumption of 50 kg of bread per person per year. The highest consumption levels are recorded in Bulgaria (app. 95 kg), although the lowest consumption is in UK (app. 32 kg). The market structure varies throughout Europe. For example, in the UK the industrial sector representing 80% of production, it is 40% in Germany, 35% in France and 19% in Spain.


In 2014, bread accounted for 79% of total bakery consumption by volume in 2014, whereas the percentage was 81 in 2004. These data show that the bread consumption is slightly declining in Europe. The other bakery products (viennoiserie, sweet and savoury pastry, …) therefore constitute an increasing proportion.  According to a GIRA study, the EU-17 bread per capita consumption has actually been declining by 0.6% per year, and a further -0.4% per year decline in total bread consumption is foreseen. The reasons are multiple. Some global population trends might influence bread consumption, such as the younger consumers who on a daily basis eat less bread. The crisis has changed consumption habits too. People waste less and less foodstuff, and do not go to restaurants as much as before


The Bread consumption pattern is therefore changing. Bread is increasingly offered and bought in smaller formats, due to the family size and the a trend towards more snacking. Bread faces competition with other food products. For example, it is replaced during the breakfast by porridge or breakfast cereals.