Community bakers have lost as much as 30 percent in sales since the pandemic that forced some of them to close shop, according to Princess Lunar, president of the Asosasyon ng Panaderong Pilipino.
Even the big bakers were not spared, according to Walter Co, president of WalterBread, who has seen the market shift from the more expensive bread to the cheaper ones.
Lunar in a forum celebrating World Bread Day last October 16, called on big bakers to extend technical assistance such as formulation technology and manufacturing technique to small players to help them adapt to the changing trends in the market and recover lost ground Edwin Cua of the Philippine Baking Industry Group said the best scenario is a flat growth this year as he hopes for a rebound in the fourth quarter.
Cua said volumes are still down as of the third quarter especially with schools closed.
“That is a huge market (we lost) and is contributing to a downward trend in our performance. Our focus is to look at new markets, how we can sustain and be able to cope with the new normal,” Cua said in the same forum.
Co said the long-term effect is that big companies will go for automation, relying on less people to run a bakery and shifting capital for partial or full automation.
Ric Pinca, executive director of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers, assured bakers of sufficient supply and stable prices of flour for the rest of the year, particularly this Christmas which is seasonally high for the flour industry.
Home bakers are a growing market niche that complements the community and big bakers.