Surge in Independent Bakeries

BAKE NEWS: Great British Bake Off ‘rises’ surge in independent bakeries

48% surge in the number of UK independent bakeries over the last three years Northern Powerhouse comes out on top with more independent bakeries in the North West and North East than the rest of the UK South West saw the fastest growth (34%), closely followed by Wales and Scotland (both 29%) and East Anglia (27%)

With the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) whipping up its fresh batch of contestants, small business insurer Simply Business has revealed a 48% surge in the number of independent bakeries across the UK between 2016-2018[1].

Analysis of over 6,400 insurance policies taken out over a three-year period shows independent bakeries, cake makers and decorators, and tea and cake shops are showing no signs of crumbling, with the number consistently rising year-on-year.

In 2018, a total of 2,827 policies were taken out, a 48% increase compared to the 1,467 taken out in 2016. While an average of 9.3 million[2] people tuned in to watch each episode last year, the UK saw a 25% rise in the number of independent bakeries across the nation, as more Brits are turning their baking passions into a successful business.

Year Policies taken out Percentage increase
2018 2,827 25%
2017 2,121 31%
2016 1,467 n/a
Total rise between 2016-2018: 48%    

The nation-wide trend has shown Northerners are leading the way, with the North West coming out on top with a total number of 866 independently owned bakeries, closely followed by the North East with 858.

The fastest growing region in the last year was the South West, with a 34% increase between 2017-2018. This was closely followed by Wales and Scotland (both growing by 29%) and East Anglia (growing by 27%).

Region Percentage increase from 2017-2018[3] Total number of independent bakeries
South West England 34% 575
Scotland 29% 413
Wales 29% 318
East Anglia 27% 798
South Central England 25% 599
North West England 24% 866
North East England 24% 858
Northern Ireland 24% 64
South East England 23% 647
The Midlands 20% 791
London 17% 504
Islands n/a 3

The majority of independent bakeries and cake shops are founded by women, who started 87% more business than men over the three-year period. A total of 1,670 bakeries were owned by females between 2016-2018, compared to 206 by men.

In the last year alone women opened up 38% more bakeries, cake makers or decorators. This is a jump from 540 in 2017, to 878 in 2018.

  2016 2017 2018 Total
Female 252 540 878 1670
Male 44 51 111 206

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business commented:

“The Great British Bake Off is one of the most anticipated shows in the UK television calendar and it’s inspired thousands of bakers across the nation to rise up and start their own independent business. In every area we’re seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of cake makers, decorators and dough bakers, as more local pâtissiers are turning passions into professional businesses. A significant number of females in particular are taking the leap, with a 38% increase in baking business’ opening within the last year.

“Small businesses are vital to the UK economy, so the fact that so many aspiring bakers and pastry makers are making the leap is extremely encouraging. With the accessibility of social media marketing on their side and a demand for bespoke artisan bakers and dessert makers, business insurance is crucial in protecting a new venture – from public liability to employers’ liability insurance, it’s a must for businesses who want to protect themselves and their treasured customers.”

5 tips to help your bakery business rise Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business

1. Sort your home baking insurance It’s important to think about business insurance when setting up your baking business. Public liability insurance and product liability insurance (usually sold together) can cover you if you’re sued by a member of the public for injury or damage.

2. Think about standing out With the growing number of independently owned bakeries out there, it’s important to think about differentiating your business. This could mean specialising in vegan or gluten-free bakes, or concentrating on children’s party cupcakes or wedding cakes. Cakes can be difficult to transport, so it’s important to have a good sense of the local market, as most customers need to be close enough for in-person delivery or collection.

3. Develop an online presence When making a product that’s supposed to look beautiful, photographs are key. Set up a website with important details covering what you do, where you’re based, and how people can place an order - and add plenty of mouth-watering photos. Set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account for your business, and keep them updated with posts and photographs and interact with other accounts.

4. Get out and about with your baking business Although you’re setting up a baking business from home, it’s a good idea to get out and about to tell people about your business and develop a reputation locally. Consider applying for a stall at local events, including food markets and fetes. You can offer people free samples, sell cakes, and give out flyers and leaflets to promote your home baking business.

5. Market your business As well as going to local events with your cakes and using social media to reach potential customers, think of more ways to market your business. If you’re specialising in wedding cakes, try to put flyers in a wedding dress shop, or develop a relationship with a local wedding venue. You could try Google Pay Per Click (PPC) ads or Facebook advertising, but remember to narrow the audience down to your local area so that the adverts are only appearing for people within your delivery zone.

[1] Data includes independent bakeries, tea and cake shops, cake makers and decorators. 2 [GBBO viewing figures] (

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR
+44 20 7693 7433
[email protected]

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and landlord insurance.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.

Simply Business provides insurance to more than 475,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company to Work For.