4 Segments Driving Bakery Sales


Led by cookies and cakes, dollar sales of both fresh and packaged bakery goods are on the rise, according to data from Chicago-based IRI. Units, on the other hand, are proving to be flat, a possible indication that premium bakery items are driving sales today.

Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI’s executive vice president and practice leader of client insights, provided a close examination of bakery category trends at the American Bakers Association's annual technical conference.

Click through to read about several trends pertaining to the overall category.

Photograph: Shutterstock


fat badger cookies chocolate sea salt

In 2017, cookies expanded both unit and dollar sales, according to IRI, but units regressed in 2018. Premium and healthier options such as small-batch vegan Fat Badger Bakery cookies added a halo effect to the movement. Fat Badger cookies are available in a variety of flavors, including Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Sugar, Oatmeal Chip, Toasted Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Sweet Raspberry, Chocolate Sea Salt and Chocolate Mint. The Non-GMO Project verified treats are free of preservatives, chemicals, hydrogenated trans-fats and artificial flavors and colors, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of Fat Badger


flower foods tastykake pumpkin mini donuts

Brands like Tastykake looked to infuse excitement into the doughnut category, which experienced declines in both units and dollar sales during 2018, according to IRI. Tastykake’s innovation included limited-edition fall offerings such as Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Mini Donuts. “Pastry doughnuts have had phenomenal growth for the past few years: This is one of the first we’ve seen a bit of a decline. It’s still a favorite category, but there is still work to be done there,” said Lyons Wyatt.

Photograph courtesy of Tastykake


simple mills almond flour cracker snack pack

Convenience is driving innovation in the cracker segment as snack packs and trays that include crackers, cheese and protein or fruit are on the rise, says Lyons Wyatt. “A few convenient options coming into the industry are changing the game from a convenience standpoint,” she said. “One is Simple Mills’ Almond Flour Cracker Snack Pack, which contains six single-serve packages of its Fine Ground Sea Salt variety.

Photograph courtesy of Simple Mills


mckee drakes mint devil dogs

Another macro trend was dubbed “thriving seasons.” Holidays are “big business for bakery goods. The five weeks of winter holidays make up 12% of the business, unit and dollar, for the year,” said Lyons Wyatt. Limited-time holiday rollouts, such as Drake’s Mint Creme Devil Dogs, help catapult seasonal performance even higher with an offering specifically tailored to the season.

Photograph courtesy of Drake’s


woman sandwich

Many baking companies are searching for a “magic bullet” to capitalize on millennial spending power, but Lyons Wyatt warned of the pitfalls of making blanket assessments of this demographic. “When you look at millennials, you can’t treat them as one big group because there are so many different components of being a millennial,” she said, identifying subcategories that encompass singles, younger couples and female-led households.

Photograph: Shutterstock