What drives an appetite
for premium bread?


What will drive the premium wheat bread category in the next 3-5 years? This was the big question for Lantmännen Unibake, who, as bread experts, still lacked a true understanding of what premium wheat bread is in a global context.


We set out to understand how consumers across Europe perceive premiumness and the wheat bread category in general terms, through qualitative interviews and observations in the local context. We supported this with a global and market specific trend analysis of consumer goods with a focus on premiumisation.


We identified what premium means to the wheat bread category in different cultures and markets, and defined influential consumer factors that will drive a premiumisation in the coming years. Lantmännen have subsequently implemented our strategic advice into their global market strategies.

Lantmännen Unibake

What would trigger people to trade up to a premium option on such a basic, everyday product?


Which factors will drive a premiumisation of wheat bread in the future?

Läntmannen are experts in everyday bread, but were looking to expand into a more premium position in the in-store bakery context. They needed to develop a portfolio of products that would deliver a more premium consumer experience, justifying a higher price point, but without clashing with the boom of artisanal bakeries.

So Läntmannen asked IIAB to help answer some key, nuanced questions: What does premium mean in the wheat bread category? Where do people find value? What specific factors will drive the premiumisation of this category in the future? How can Läntmannen take and maintain a strong premium position in this market?

"In the weekends breakfast becomes more a family meal.
It’s about taking the time to eat."



A global, qualitative study of a ubiquitous category

Using a wide range of qualitative methods allowed us to gain a deep understanding of how decisions about bread are influenced in different contexts:

  • shopalongs with consumers in 3 markets (Belgium, Sweden, Poland)

  • in-home interviews to gain deep insights into everyday life, food habits and experience with bread amongst respondents in all markets

  • market analysis of consumer goods in each market both with and without local, cultural and linguistic interpreters (Belgium, Sweden, Poland)

  • deep dive into existing quantitative studies and design of new quantitative data collection to support qualitative insights and to define size of opportunities

  • trend analysis of macro, mega and micro trends, with consumer goods as a focal point, both globally and in the local markets (Belgium, Sweden, Poland)


Drivers defining the premiumisation of wheat bread

We found that premium bread is a more complex beast than first thought, requiring multi-level understanding, and some careful strategic decisions.

We delivered seven category drivers for the premiumisation of the wheat bread category, which defined not only factors impacting the products themselves, but also the occasions for which bread is bought, and the influence of the shopping experience. Each driver manifests as a compilation of the many data sources used throughout the project, functioning as springboards for Lantmännen’s strategic plans to build their premium position in the wheat bread category.

IIAB further collaborated with Lantmännen in the co-creation of activation platforms – specific recommendations for strategic execution against the drivers. By combining multiple drivers, we were able to work together towards the most impactful decisions, both globally and within each market team.

Making the comprehensive material live within the organisation, was a crucial for its overall implementation success. As a first step, we developed a film format to drive the knowledge, and to support a common language and understanding across countries.

Written and produced from the consumers point of view, the series of live-animated films present the driver, the occasion and supporting data in a familiar setting, giving the viewer a fuller understanding of the context and its opportunity space.

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