case study:
Lantmännen Unibake

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, needed to understand what premiumisation meant for their category, and how to activate it across markets.


We set out to understand how consumers across Europe perceive premiumness and the wheat bread category in general terms, through an ethnographic approach in three markets complimented with a global trend study. The project delivered activation platforms responding to the key consumer factors driving premiumisation.


Lantmännen implemented the drivers and activation platforms into their global market strategies. This directly laid the foundation for global premiumisation initiatives such as the Bread Barista concept; a communication campaign leveraging the historical expertise of the bakers at Lantmannen, and their artisanal product range, towards retail customers.

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

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

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

Lantmännen 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 Lantmännen 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 Lantmännen take and maintain a strong premium position in this market?

the approach

A global, qualitative study of a ubiquitous category where we used a wide range of qualitative methods, allowing us to gain a deep understanding of how decisions about bread are influenced in different contexts.

The methods used were:

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)

The Result

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 success. We developed films, telling the story of the drivers, to bring people on board across the organisation, and to support a common language and understanding across countries.

The drivers became a foundation for the category’s global activity planning, one result being the Bread Barista communication platform, which builds on insights around the importance of premium brand storytelling and artisanship.

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Interested to find out more? Contact the

Lantmännen Unibake

case owner

Katey Diamond
Director & Partner