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Great British Bake Off: the number of independent bakeries in the UK rises by 48%

3-minute read

Great British Bake Off: the number of independent bakeries in the UK rises by 48%
Sam Bromley

Sam Bromley

11 September 2019

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New data from Simply Business reveals that the number of independent bakeries, cake makers and tea and cake shops has been consistently rising year-on-year.

The new series of The Great British Bake Off is in full swing and people are watching in record numbers – 9.4 million tuned in for the first episode.

With hapless contestants already being eliminated (sorry, Jamie), we delved into our data and found out that the number of independent bakeries across the UK has surged between 2016 and 2018.

48% increase in policies since 2016

Looking at independent bakeries, cake makers and tea and cake shops, we analysed more than 6,400 insurance policies taken out over a three-year period:

  • in 2018, a total of 2,827 policies were taken out, a 48 per cent increase compared to the 1,467 taken out in 2016
  • while 9.3 million people tuned in to watch each episode last year on average, the UK saw a 25 per cent increase between 2017-2018 in the number of independent bakeries
  • Northerners lead the way when it comes to turning their passion for baking into a business, with the most independently owned bakeries situated in the North West

Percentage increase between each year

YearNumber of policies taken outPercentage increase between each year
20182,82725 per cent
20172,12131 per cent

Percentage increase by location

RegionPercentage increase from 2017-2018Total number of independent bakeries
South West England34 per cent575
Scotland29 per cent413
Wales29 per cent318
East Anglia27 per cent798
South Central England25 per cent599
North West England24 per cent866
North East England24 per cent858
Northern Ireland24 per cent64
South East England23 per cent647
The Midlands20 per cent791
London17 per cent504

Number of bakeries and cake shops owned by women

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

In the last year alone, women opened up 38 per cent more bakeries and cake shops – this is a jump from 540 in 2017 to 878 in 2018.

Thinking about starting a bakery business? Here are 5 tips

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, commented: “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.”

1. Sort your home baking insurance

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. Make your bakery stand out

Considering there’s been a rise in the number of independent bakeries out there, you should make sure your business stands out. Do you have a speciality, for example? Maybe your niche could be in vegan or gluten-free bakes, or concentrating on cupcakes for children’s parties. Be sure to have a good sense of the local market too, as most customers need to be close enough for in-person delivery or collection.

3. Build your online presence

You’re going to spend a lot of time making your products look beautiful, so photographing them and displaying them on your website will be key. Set up a website with important details covering what you do, where you’re based, and how people can place an order. Set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account for your business, keeping them updated with posts and photographs (and interact with other users and businesses too).

4. Get out and about

Even if you’re setting up a baking business from home, it’s good to get out and tell people about your business, developing 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 business.

5. Market your business

As well as going to events and setting up social media accounts, think of more ways to market yourself. 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 only appear for people within your delivery zone.

Protect your home baking business

As the UK's biggest business insurance provider, we protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored home baking insurance policy?

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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