The best thing since sliced bread? Brits embrace the bagel as sales soar

The best thing since sliced bread Brits embrace the bagel as sales soar



14:19 GMT, 27 March 2012

They've been popular in the U.S. for decades and now Brits have developed a love of bagels.

In the last year, sales of the baked dough snack have soared by 26 per cent, according to figures from AC Nielsen data.

Brits now eat an average of 378 million bagels each year, boosting the value of the UK bagel market to 60m.

Tasty: Bagels are quickly becoming a favourite snack for Brits

Tasty: Bagels are quickly becoming a favourite snack for Brits

The rise means bagels are now outselling other bread-based products. In the last year, UK sales of bagels overtook English muffins by 11 per cent.

However, the dough-with-a-hole has a long way to go to replace bread as the nation's favourite. Demand for sliced bread is still approximately three times larger than that for bagels.

The rise in the popularity of bagels could be explained by the economic downturn as the bagel is a cheaper alternative to a sandwich and it's versatility means it can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or as a snack anytime of the day.

It can be toasted and covered in a favourite spread, made into a sandwich or eaten as it comes.

The bagel boom means supermarkets are stocking a wider range of flavours to meet demand including cinnamon and raisin, onion, and sesame seed.

Versatile: Bagels can be toasted or made into a sandwich

Versatile: Bagels can be toasted or made into a sandwich

The health conscious can have wholemeal or multi-seed varieties while lower fat versions are also available.

Freddie Myers, Tesco
packaged bakery buyer, said the rise in sales is due to the fact
shoppers are looking for value for money and 'exciting alternatives to
the traditional sandwich'.

added: 'The bagel ticks both those boxes as it's a good solid, chunky
bread product that fills you up and keeps you going through the day.'

The roll-shaped bagel is thought to have been invented by a Jewish baker in Vienna, Austria, in 1683.

They quickly gained in popularity amongst Jewish communities and immigrants took the recipe with them when they travelled to America, where they became a favourite food nationwide.

A bagel is different from bread because of more than just it's distinctive shape with a hole in the middle.

It's dough mixture has less water and higher gluten flour which is often boiled and then baked at a higher temperature to bread.

This makes it more dense and chewy – but also more calorific, one bagel can contain the same carbohydrate as four slices of bread.