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Ready, bready, dough: who will win the bread wars?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), September 2013 – August 2014 (n=12,681).

Woolworths Supermarkets’ recent announcement that they were reducing the price of their Homebrand white bread from $1 to 85c a loaf not only attracted widespread media attention, but prompted Coles and ALDI to match the price with their equivalent ‘store’s own’ white loaves. Will these ‘bread wars’ impact smaller specialist stores such as Bakers Delight? The latest data from Roy Morgan Research suggests not. On the contrary, market share remains fairly stable for both supermarkets and specialist stores.

Of the supermarkets, Woolworths already has the largest share of the bread market, accounting for 27% of total dollars spent on bread in an average week, with a mean weekly spend per customer of $5.96. Coles Group is second with a 23% share and mean weekly spend of $5.66, well ahead of IGA (7%) and ALDI (6%).

Overall, supermarkets account for almost two-thirds of Australia’s total weekly bread spend.

Supermarkets or specialist stores? Australia’s bread market


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), September 2013 – August 2014 (n=12,681).

When combined, bread shops such as Baker’s Delight, Brumby’s Bakery and Delifrance have almost the same share (27%) of the weekly dollars spent on bread as Woolies — a slight increase on their market share from the same time last year (when it was 26%).

However, the mean weekly spend at these specialist retailers is markedly higher than at the supermarkets: ranging from $6.85 at Delifrance/other bread shops and $7.37 at Bakers Delight to $7.58 at Brumby’s.

Given the difference in spend on bread at supermarkets and bread stores, it is not surprising that people belonging to high-income Helix Personas communities Leading Lifestyles, Metrotechs and Aussie Achievers are more likely to purchase their bread from the specialist bread shops, while those from the less well-off Getting By, Golden Years and Battlers communities are more likely to buy it from supermarkets.

Warren Reid, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Some media and industry sources claim that Woolies’ decision to discount its Homebrand white bread so heavily could hurt independent and specialist retailers that don’t have the buying power to match such a low price. But data from Roy Morgan Research shows that consumers who buy their bread from stores like Bakers Delight can afford, and are willing, to pay more, and almost certainly wouldn’t be swayed by an 85-cent white loaf.

“For example, by using Helix Personas to profile bread buyers, we find that people from the Progressive Thinkers persona (part of the Leading Lifestyles community) are 54% more likely to buy their bread from Bakers Delight. With a very healthy household income, an optimistic outlook and a taste for life’s little luxuries, these individuals wouldn’t think twice about paying more for bread if they thought the taste and quality warranted it.

“On the other hand, Pennywise Australians are 39% more likely to buy their bread from Woolworths. Part of the Battlers community, Pennywise is exactly the kind of shopper who’d find 85-cent bread an irresistible proposition. Typically living in rural areas, they earn a below-average income but are adept at making it last: and one of their tried-and-true budgetary measures is buying stores’-own products.

“People who purchase their bread at specialist bread stores tend to be very different to those who buy it at supermarkets, and although there is some crossover, offering white loafs for 85 cents is unlikely to change this. Woolies would have been more likely to win over Coles and ALDI customers if these supermarkets hadn’t been so quick to discount their own white loaves in response to the price reduction.

“The real threat will be to the ‘branded’ bread sold through supermarkets, when consumers are forced to compare the two products side by side — one much cheaper than the other.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan Research’s retail data, please contact:

Warren Reid, Group Account Director – Consumer Products
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5161

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%