Filipinos have a penchant for breads. Like rice, these baked goods are a staple fare in the local dining table, and are typically consumed for breakfast or as a snack.

From the well-loved pandesal, Filipinos have grown to like different variety of breads — from the usual sweet variants that satisfy their sweet tooth cravings to savory ones. This fondness for baked treats opened opportunities for entrepreneurs to build business, innovate, and explore the endless possibilities in baking.

Those involved in the baking business have noted that it is a rewarding and a profitable venture. They further pointed out that baked products are sure sellers because everyone practically eats bread, and it is almost always the choice as a convenient, on-the-go food.

With the increase in number of businesses engaged in baking, Filipinos not only get their supply of bread from neighborhood bakeries, but also in other accessible establishments like malls, supermarkets, and train stations.

Philippine Statistics Authority stated in a 2013 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry released in 2016 that bread, cakes, pastries, pies and similar ‘perishable’ bakery products accounted for 6,618 establishments or 26.3% of the total 25,149 number of manufacturing establishments in the formal sector of the economy.

The baking business in the country has also went through various transformations — from the technologies used in baking to the new flavors introduced by foreign players who have established their presence in the country. As what market research firm Euromonitor International stated, innovation remains vital for baked goods companies to address the need of consumers for variety.

According to food writer Amy A. Uy, who published a book about Philippine breads, community bakeries — or often referred to as ‘panaderia’ — around the country have embraced new equipment and technologies; and apart from the traditional breads, are now offering modern varieties of bread.

Moreover, with the adaptation of these innovations, Ms. Uy said that it has become easier to standardize recipes and which then opened opportunities for expansion including franchising.

From the community and artisanal bakeries to big companies, it seems that the industry is thriving and will continue to do so. According to the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association, Inc., the baking industry in the Philippines is continually growing.

Euromonitor International also noted in a 2017 report that more companies are expanding into baked goods. This is seen in the opening of new brands and concepts in the city as well as the riding of several existing players with on-trend flavors such as salted egg yolk and cheese tarts, among others.

The craze on salted egg yolk was seen in the past year with different baked products featuring the flavor on croissants, buns, cakes, and ensaymada (brioche topped with cheese and sugar).

Online market research firm Statista also projected that the market is expected to grow annually by 5.4 % (compunded annual growth rate from 2018 to 2021).

To further engage industry players, various initiatives are being done not only by the government but also by private groups including the annual Bakery Fair. Attended by thousands of delegates, the fair aims to showcase technological advancements and techniques in baking, and enable players to gain competitive intelligence about market leaders and to track industry trends and its opportunities. — Romsanne R. Ortiguero