How baking took over the world

30 Sep 2016


Baking. It’s an old and traditional pastime – the Ancient Egyptians were known to bake with yeast and an oven was recently discovered in Croatia that is believed to be 6,500 years old. And yet despite being around for thousands of years, baking is now more popular than ever. The BBC’s Great British Bake Off (GBBO) has undoubtedly had an influence on the rise of baking but just how big has the culinary pastime become? And who’s getting involved? We decided to take a look.


We analysed social media and search engine data from 2009 (looking specifically at Twitter and Google) in an attempt to chart the rise of baking chatter and traffic online. By looking at this information we were able to get a better idea of who’s talking about baking - their age, gender and location - and what they were talking about. We were also able to find out just how much GBBO has had an influence on the huge surge in baking.




It’s no surprise that there’s been a big increase in Twitter chatter when it comes to baking. From 2009 – 2015 tweets about baking increased by 595,127 (+3,976%). What’s more, there’s been a rise in the number of under 17 year olds talking about baking, with 1,400% more getting involved in the conversation between 2009-2010, and 1,902% more between 2010-2015.


Why has baking grown in popularity?

It’s clear that baking is something people find fun and uplifting. In 2009 there was a degree of fear when people discussed baking on Twitter, but by 2016 this had dropped by 4%. Negativity when talking about baking has also declined by 8% since then too. As baking has boomed, so has good feeling with a 17% increase in joy and a 9% rise in positive sentiment in baking-related tweets.



The GBBO effect


The Great British Bake Off has certainly had an influence on the baking boom. The popular TV baking show, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, has been something of a surprise hit and has turned baking experts Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry into household names since it first aired in 2010. The final for the 2015 series pulled in a record average of more than 13 million viewers, making it the most watched TV programme of the year. 


Social media conversations have reflected the popularity of the programme with an increase of 2.9 billion total potential impressions on Twitter about GBBO between January 2009 – December 2015, a rise of 36,045%. The show has really caught the public imagination with terms from the programme such as ‘soggy bottoms’ (a reference to an under-baked cake base) going from a mere 18 tweets during 2009 to 10,289 in 2012.


Likewise, kouign amann (a form of crusty Breton cake) was hardly mentioned online until it appeared on the programme in 2014. All of a sudden, it leapt from 1000 monthly Google searches to 16,667 – an increase of 1,567%. Searches for the term gradually decreased, however they increased again in September 2016 as GBBO returned to our screens – up 467% on the previous month.



The future of baking

Whether the popularity of baking and GBBO remains at such high levels remains to be seen as, in September 2016, it was revealed that the rights to the show were being sold to Channel 4 rather than the BBC for the first time. Within hours it was revealed that hosts Mel and Sue would be leaving the show, and the outcry on social media was fierce.


One thing’s for sure, the increase in baking’s popularity over the last six years has definitely gone hand-in-hand with the rise of GBBO on our television screens. It is forecasted that potential twitter impressions about baking will go over 3 billion by 2017, with a figure of over 259 million for GBBO.


In the meantime, if you find yourself inspired to get baking then take a look at our range of Neff Ovens. From cakes to buns, these ovens are perfect for whipping up a wide range of delicious baked treats.