New research indicates that, despite the popularity of Bake Off, we’re baking less, eating less bread and have all but shunned frying. Coconut oil and avocado oil on the other hand had you at hello…

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Hold the bread basket and swerve the margarine: recent Mintel  stats indicate that 43 per cent of us are buying less  bread  than a few years ago (49 per cent in the 18-24 age range), while sales of spreads such as marg are down by 27 per cent, and edible oils have seen a ten per cent decline in sales since 2012. Of those of us that do buy butters, spreads, oils and other yellow fats, 62 per cent report that we’re frying less food at home, which slumps to 73 per cent in the over 55 age category. It seems we’re content with being sofa based baking spectators rather than pre-heating the ovens ourselves, as Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel Richard Caines confirms:

“Changing eating habits have had an impact on sales of butter, spreads and oils. Most buyers frying less food than a few years ago is a continuation of a long-term trend, including having fewer fried breakfasts. Meanwhile, people cutting back on bread means they are not using butter or spreads as much as they used to, negatively impacting on sales. Yellow fats also look to be suffering from an end to the home baking boom. As a result of this, encouraging new uses will be important in driving future growth in the yellow fats and edible oils market.”

Butter  is seeing a slight resurgence in popularity with an eleven per cent increase in volume sales, thought to be down to its more ‘natural’ and wholesome image, although the fact that the price of butter has been on the up this year could churn up trouble, particularly considering that 40 per cent of us prioritise price over other purchasing influences such as low saturated fat content. Mintel research suggests, however, that we’re willing to reach into our wallets when it comes to supporting British farmers, buying organic or guaranteeing optimum animal welfare, while provenance can also have a positive impact- 44 per cent would be more inclined to buy butter with a clear regional origin.

So if we’re abandoning ‘traditional’ oil and spread choices, which fats are filling the hole, so to speak? 33 per cent of us see coconut oil  as trendy, as opposed to 12 per cent who’d describe olive oil in the same vein, and while just 7 per cent of us have purchased coconut oil in the past three months, 58 per cent relayed that they did so owing to its supposedly healthy credentials. Coconut oil is even seeping its way into more classic spread, oil and butter options- 12 per cent of launches in the category last year contained coconut oil.

We’re not just going coco loco either- if we don’t all turn into avocados soon, I’ll eat my hat. 24 per cent of us think that avocado oil will be the next big hit in the fat camp, and Richard would concur:

“While avocado oil may be suffering from lack of awareness, there is clearly scope for retailers to shout about the health credentials of avocado oil more strongly to support their increased presence on supermarket shelves, and their inclusion in spreads.”

We’re not sure what Paul or Prue would make of this news, but seeing as yuzu fruit  had such a warm reception in the GBBO final, perhaps the judges might be open to more “super” fats. Just don’t come near our scones + Cornish butter. Some classics you don’t mess with.

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