Bord Bia to ask under 25s why they prefer chocolate to a slice of cake
Despite our burgeoning waistlines, the state of the country's cake market is to come under the microscope as part of new research to be conducted for Bord Bia.
The agency says the value of Ireland's cake and pastry market is €110m, but is concerned that it is not growing and is facing "intense pressure from rival treat categories" like chocolate bars and sugary sweets.
Bord Bia wants to look at emerging trends and growth opportunities - with a particular focus on developing ideas to attract the country's under 25s who may be opting for Mars bars over Madeira cake.
A tender has now been issued looking for companies to undertake research to understand the future for cakes and pastries in Ireland as well as in the UK market.
The study will examine "ambient cakes or shelf stable products" - effectively treats that don't need to be chilled, a Bord Bia spokesperson told the Irish Independent.
Examples include fruit cakes, swiss rolls, Madeira cake and even Christmas Puddings.
The tender states: "The primary objective of the project is to identify areas of innovation for the manufacturers.
"How could consumers' needs evolve in relation to cakes and pastries over the next five to 10 years, and what opportunities will this present to Irish manufacturers?"
Areas that will be examined will include packaging, ingredients and formats as well as what factors drive growth and what is impacting on decline.
'Ideas on how to attract the under 25s to the category' is also listed as a key aspect of the research.
However Bord Bia said: "It is not the case they (under 25s) are not consuming cakes. We are looking to understand how, why, when, where they make such purchases."
The tender comes as a recent report warned nine out of ten Irish men would be overweight by 2030, with half clinically obese.
Irish women are expected to overtake their male counterparts with 85pc overweight in 15 years' time and 57pc obese.