The cookie sector overall did well over the past year, which is unsurprising. Consumers love cookies, and manufacturers are continuing to surprise and innovate with new flavors, gluten-free options, and more.

Market data

According to Circana (Chicago) data from the past 52 weeks, which ended on March 26, 2023, the “center store cookies” category—for example, prepackaged bakery items—experienced large growth: it’s up 27.5% compared to 2022 sales from the same time period, bringing in $991 million in total sales.

The “center store traditional cookies” subsection brought in $833 million of those sales, with a 26.7% increase, and the “center store iced/frosted cookies” category brought in $142 million, with 30.4% in sales. Also of note is the “center store assorted/multi-pack cookies” subsection, which brought in $11.3 million in sales but increased by 73.6% from 2022.

Breadwinners to note in the “center store traditional cookies” categories included McKee Foods Corp., with $757 million in sales and up 27.6%; Grupo Bimbo, with $31.3 million in sales and up 10.9% from 2022; and Chattanooga Bakery Inc., bringing in $15.9 million in sales, and up 29.7% from last year.

Source: Circana OmniMarket™ Total Store View | Geography : Total US - Multi Outlet w/ C-Store (Grocery, Drug, Mass Market, Convenience, Military and Select Club & Dollar Retailers) | Time : Latest 52 Weeks Ending 03-26-23

The “perimeter cookies” section, aka freshly baked cookies, brought in $2.594 billion in sales, with a 15.2% increase from 2022, and the “perimeter traditional cookies” subsection brought in $1.669 billion of that, with a 15.8% increase in sales. The “perimeter iced/frosted cookies” subsection took in $399 million in sales, with a 20.1% increase, and the “perimeter specialty cookies” subsection brought in $203 million, with a 14.5% increase. The “perimeter assorted/multi-pack cookies” section, which brought in $179 million in sales, and experienced a 16.9% increase from 2022 sales.

In the “perimeter traditional cookies” subsection, private-label cookies lead the pack, with $1.408 billion in sales, up 18.8% from 2022. Treehouse Foods Inc. brought in $32.3 million in sales, but with a loss of 4.9% as compared to the same time last year, and Alyssa’s Bakery brought in $26.1 million, with a 12.3% increase. Others to note include Mondelēz International, which brought in $10.49 million but had an outstanding increase of 134.4% in sales.

The “perimeter iced/frosted cookies” category was also led by private label, bringing in $251.8 million in sales with an increase of 23.2%, and followed by Treehouse Foods Inc., with $73.1 million in sales, but down 11.1%. Mondelēz International came in third, with $39.9 million in sales and an 86.9% increase, and Granny B’s Cookies brought in $11.3 million sales, but with a hefty 413.1% increase in sales compared to last year.

Looking back

Mike Senackerib, CEO, Dewey’s Bakery, Winston-Salem, NC, says that Dewey’s is seeing an increased emphasis on better-for-you cookies in the form of lower sugar, gluten-free, and additive-free products.

“Our crisp and flavorful cookies are baked without artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives so consumers know they’re making a mindful choice. Over the past year, we’ve gained significant retail distribution nationwide including all of the Albertsons banners—Safeway, Jewel/Osco, Shaw’s, and United supermarkets—which has been critical for our expansion,” he says.

“Doubling our distribution year-over-year has resulted in increased awareness for our brand and a true national presence. We’ve also seen growth on as cookie lovers are searching for more occasion-based gift offerings. We have about a dozen special occasion cookie tins to choose from and multiple gift boxes with varying price points,” Senackerib adds.

Denise Woodard, founder, and CEO, Partake Foods, Jersey City, NJ, says that Partake Foods talks frequently with its consumers out in the field, via surveys, and through its product reviews.

“We've seen a growing number of consumers requesting both nostalgic flavors and a variety of packaging sizes. We're responding, in kind, through our innovation roadmap. We're grateful to be our community's trusted source for delicious snacks that are also allergy-friendly and made with better-for-you ingredients,” she shares.

Courtesy of Partake Foods

As operational costs and distribution have increased, Partake has had to be even more scrutinous of how its dollars are spent and stretched prioritizing profitability. One thing that hasn't changed is its commitment to lifting, as it continues its give-back efforts and B Corp certification, Woodard notes.

“Earlier this year, we announced the launch of three new cookie and mini cookie products available exclusively at Target—Partake Marvel Avengers Crunchy Super Hero Sprinkle Mini Cookie Snack Packs, Partake Soft Baked Snickerdoodle Cookies, and Partake Soft Baked Lemon Cookies. With Marvel’s iconic Avengers characters on every pouch and box, the new Crunchy Super Hero Sprinkle Mini Cookies have just the right amount of vanilla, a satisfying crunch, and are filled with red and blue sprinkles. Each box contains ten individually wrapped snack packs,” she shares.

“For those that crave the perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar, Partake’s new Soft Baked Snickerdoodle cookies hits the spot, with just the right amounts of spice and sweetness. Each 5.5-ounce box contains approximately five servings and retails for $5.49,” Woodard comments.

“And returning to Target after a successful seasonal run in spring 2022, Partake’s Soft Baked Lemon Cookies are back and here to stay. Each 5.5-ounce box contains approximately five servings and retails for $5.49,” she finishes.

Looking forward

Woodard says that in June, the company will launch its new Classic Graham Crackers, perfect for s’mores season and as a year-round snack, available at Target stores nationwide, as well as online at Imperfect Foods and World Market.

“Partake Classic Graham Crackers have a delightful hint of cinnamon, and are the perfect size and shape for s’mores, on-the-go, and lunchboxes. They’re safe for school and summer camps, and make a perfect pie crust. Just like all Partake products, the Classic Graham Crackers are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of the top nine9 allergens. Each 6.75-ounce box of Partake Classic Graham Crackers will contain 18 squares and retail for $5.49,” Woodard says.

Senackerib says that Partake recently introduced Key Lime to its cookie line-up.

“This citrusy springtime flavor is baked with cold-pressed Key Lime oil and a dash of pure cane sugar to strike a perfect balance of sweet and tart; perfect for snacking poolside or sharing with friends as the weather warms up,” he suggests.

“We’re continuing to develop new cookie flavors that will balance our portfolio and appeal to cookie consumers of all ages. Our new flavors are full of real, premium ingredients and bring big flavor with each bite! Stay tuned to see which flavors will be joining the Dewey’s family!” Senackerib adds.