Great British Bake Off ‘rises’ surge in independent bakeries

Food & Drink | Retail | Surveys

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.

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 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 Number of policies taken out Percentage increase between each year
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.”

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