When it comes to the bagel category, consumers apparently like to keep things cool. Dollar and unit sales in the fresh and frozen bagel categories declined in the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, 2012, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, but sales of refrigerated bagels increased.

In the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, dollar sales in the refrigerated bagels segment amounted to $124.54 million on unit sales of 78.14 million up 1% and 0.82%, respectively, over the same period a year ago, says SymphonyIRI.

Growth in the category was paced by Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC, Parsippany, N.J., which, through its Lender’s Bagel brand, saw dollar sales jump 8% during the period. With more than $70 million in sales, Lender’s flagship Bagel Shop Bagels brand enjoyed an 8% increase in dollar and unit sales during the period. The products carry a distinctive “Stays fresh longer than bread-aisle bagels,” tagline placed prominently on the packaging, which might hint as to why consumers are trending toward the refrigerated category.

Several other items making a mark in the refrigerated case for Lender’s include products marketed in conjunction with the company’s partnership with Cinnabon, such as Lender’s Cinnabon bagels, Little Lender’s Cinnabon bagels and the new Lender’s Healthy Grain bagel brand, which is already approaching $1 million in sales.

Variety has also helped spur growth at Minnetonka, Minn.-based Crystal Farms Inc., the second-largest refrigerated bagel company with sales of $23.65 million. Dollar sales increased 6% in the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, according to SymphonyIRI.

The dropoff in the category could be tracked to dollar and unit sales declines in seven of the eight largest brands, says SymphonyIRI. As consumers are moving to the growing refrigerated bagel category, interest in the frozen version has waned. In the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, dollar and unit sales fell 7% and 10%, respectively.

Consumers appeared to be most inclined to choose private label when shopping the frozen bagel aisle, as dollar and unit sales increased 14% and 6%, respectively, during the period.