The cracker market, like many other snack segments, is in an evolutionary state. If you ask Craig Lieberman, president and founder of Denver-based 34 Degrees, changes in the category span “from the types and styles of crackers to the location and placement of crackers in the store.”
The chips segment has grown quite lively over the past year, with new product areas emerging and others, like apple chips, seeing considerable growth and maturation. Snack producers are also starting to grow beyond potatoes, offering sweet potato, beet and parsnip chips.
Americans continue to crave Mexican food—so much so that they spend billions of dollars annually at quick-service restaurants like Taco Bell and Chipotle Mexican Grill and on Mexican foods at their local grocery store.
When it comes to sweet goods like doughnuts, Danishes, sweet rolls, muffins and coffee cake, the market is in a state of flux. As Walter Postelwait, president of Pak Group LLC/Bellarise Baking Ingredients, Pasadena, CA, puts it: “The total segment appears to be growing slowly, but has hot pockets of activity.”
When asked to name a favorite childhood snack, most people would like probably name a favorite snack cake—Twinkies, Swiss Rolls, Devil Dogs, Snowballs or another, depending on where they lived. The taste of spongy cake and sweet, creamy filling in the middle still lingers on for some consumers. Nostalgia is a strong force.
Frozen pizza, as well as frozen pizza crusts and dough, had an improved year from a sales perspective over the past 52 weeks in the wake of strong—and continued—product and category innovation. And this innovation is resonating with shoppers at a key time in the evolution of pizza across both retail and foodservice, with encouraging growth of fast-casual pizza and intensified cross-market competition.
Despite Americans’ growing interest in healthier diets and better-for-you foods made with real ingredients, people still enjoy treating themselves to dessert, be it a piece of frosted layer cake, a slice of silky crème pie or a sliver of decadent cheesecake.
With current food trends focusing on health-and-wellness, it may be tempting to dismiss the cookie category as out of touch or on its way out. And while most of the top companies operating in the cookie category have seen relatively flat sales activity—or, at best, modest gains—traditional cookies still account for a sizeable portion of this $8 billon category.
Buns and rolls continue to emerge from ovens nationwide at a steady pace. While overall category growth has been minimal, several companies saw comparatively significant gains. And while traditional products maintain perennial allure, new interest comes from ingredients like whole grains and sweeteners.
The frozen breakfast category, anchored by waffles, pancakes and French toast, has produced its share of picks and pans over the past year, largely dominated by a handful of big-dollar items with little variation in sales.