The market for frozen bakery products is a steadily growing part of the food processing sector. The combination of convenience and changing lifestyles will continue to drive expansion in this segment, with annual growth projected at 7.1% between 2012 and 2018, research firm MarketsandMarkets says in a new report. The anticipated growth rate means that the frozen bakery market will be worth $32.5 billion by the end of the forecast period.

While competition remains moderate, the number of market players has been expanding in recent years, according to the report. In addition to supermarkets, hypermarkets and artisan bakers, the market has seen coffee shop chains contributing to growth by adding frozen bakery products to their list of goods.

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MarketsandMarkets also notes the accelerating trend towards specialty and continental frozen bakery products, as well as the fact that in-store bakeries are becoming more common. The popularity of frozen bakery products is being driven by their ease and speed of preparation and low costs. The market presents attractive opportunities for growth in some countries and overall prospects are further enhanced by the expanding variety of products.

On a regional basis, Europe was the 2012 leader in the global frozen bakery market and North America was ranked second. However, both regions will lag behind Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world in the next few years when it comes to growth rate. As for product categories, frozen pizza crust is the market leader ahead of frozen breads.