Americans’ love of sweets has propelled dollar sales of packaged sweet baked snacks and desserts by a compound annual growth rate of 2.5 percent since 2008 to reach $13 billion in 2012. “Packaged Sweet Baked Snacks and Desserts: U.S. Market Trends,” a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts, projects retail sales in the market will exceed $14 billion in 2017.
Key drivers of sales growth include higher prices from smaller pack sizes that have higher per unit costs. Smaller sizes and single-serve portions will help drive snack growth as they fulfill consumer desire for indulgence and on-the-go snacking options with some portion control, says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. And one cannot ignore the power of America’s infatuation with the cookie, which annually takes the cake as the market’s top performer. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults say they eat cookies, and shelf-stable cookies accounted for 60 percent of total sales in the packaged sweet baked snacks and dessert segment in 2012.
While most sweet product innovation—like the trendy cronut—are often associated with independent and in-store retailer bakeries, manufacturers of packaged goods also deliver new flavors and experiences on the shelf. Food players in this segment must remain vigilant of consumers’ demand for novel tastes and experiences by providing products that satisfy their clientele. Such steps will be key in combating the inevitable challenges this mature market will continue to face due to consumers being increasingly concerned about their health and diet, and increasingly seeking out fresher and more innovative snacks and desserts from in-store and independent bakeries.