The already tense situation for the bakery trade in Germany has been further aggravated by the energy crisis. A little more than 9,600 bakeries were entered in the craft register at the end of 2022, according to the Central Association of the German Bakery Trade. That was around 3.6 percent less than in the previous year. The decline has thus accelerated again, it said.

780 bakery companies disappeared from the market. There were only 422 start-ups in the same period. After all: In 2021 only 380 new companies were added.

Craftsmanship is undergoing a structural change. The number of companies has been steadily declining for decades. In 2014 there were still more than 12,600 artisanal bakeries in Germany. Bakery shops and supermarket bakeries, in which industrially manufactured bread, croissants or rolls are only baked, are causing problems for the industry. The master-run bakeries cannot keep up with the low prices.

In addition, it has become difficult to find young bakers. The number of trainees in the industry almost halved between 2014 and 2021, from around 20,500 at the time to around 12,200.

In 2022, the number of companies fell by almost 360

The situation has deteriorated further with the Russian attack on Ukraine and the resulting increase in energy costs. The costs of raw materials such as grain have risen, as has the cost of operating the energy-intensive ovens. “It is difficult for artisan bakeries to pass on the rising costs to their prices, because customers are reluctant to buy and there is strong competition from the baking industry,” says the association.

Many companies that would otherwise have held out for a few more years would have closed last year. In 2022, the number of companies fell by almost 360. The year before there were only 216. However, in the past eight years there have also been those in which the number of companies giving up was even higher.

The curve is only going up when it comes to sales

According to the association, the industry made total revenues of around 16.27 billion euros last year. That was 9.4 percent more than in the previous year. However, the growth is mainly due to the general price increases.

“We hope that the decline in the number of companies will not accelerate further in 2023 and that the bakery trade will find calm waters again,” said the deputy general manager of the central association, Friedemann Berg.

Above all, the political framework would have to be improved, it said. The “urgently needed de-bureaucratization” is high on the agenda. For example, the reusable obligation that has been in force since this year is difficult to implement, especially for small bakeries. The obligation provides for the issue of reusable packaging or coffee cups.