Cookies and Cakes Insights

You may remember one of the prevalent trends for Candy in January was simple ingredients. This trend is also translating to the sweets category. People are looking for healthier “pure” or “all natural” ingredients. Bites, barks & thins are also starting to become more prominent.

The question is: Will this new snack format steal sales for cookies and cakes? One of the biggest trends (and perhaps an answer to these questions) that popped up at this years’ NACS show was “cross-category innovation” or “snackfection” as Hershey calls it.

These hybrids are popping up all across the food and beverage industry, and it seems they are most prevalent in the snack and confection categories. Hershey’s goal in creating these hybrids is to expand consumption occasion. Their newly launched Cookie Layer Crunch blurs the lines between snack and confection, and does so deliciously. These hybrids also play into the trend that consumers are moving away from traditional meals into multiple snacking occasions.

Mondelez has come out with a similar product, Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar, which features bits of Oreo cookies mixed with Oreo creme and coated in the company’s Milka brand European milk chcolate.

According to a General Mills survey, consumers bought sweet snacks in 2016 for three different occasions, including afternoon indulgences, sweet start mornings and anytime munching. These were also broken down further:

Afternoon Indulgence is the largest group, representing 70% unit share of scan-able sweet snacks. Afternoon/evening products meet three specific customer needs:

•  Crunchy Chocolatey Nibbling - Mini candies and cookies with a little indulgence•  PM Chocolate Indulgence - Indulgent candy and packaged bakery that usually includes rich flavors like chocolate and caramel

•  Fruity Candy Craving - Bite-size non-chocolate candy eaten while doing other things


Sweet Start Mornings is the second largest group, representing 18% unit share of sweet snacks. AM-focused products meet two specific customer needs:

•  AM Bakery-fresh and Wholesome – Baked goods with homemade cues and at least some nutritional value (e.g., fruit pieces, whole grains, fiber)
•  AM Bakery Indulgence - Bakery-fresh and taste-first sweets that are eaten for enjoyment and on-the-go

Anytime Munching is the smallest group within the sweet snacks category, representing 13% unit share of sweet snacks.

•  Snacks within this group can be eaten throughout the day and tend to be more wholesome sweet options. These snacks are not daypart-specific and meet consumer needs for homemade and baked treats with at least some nutrition

Source: Six Trends Unwrapped at 2016 Sweets & snacks Expo May 31, 2016.
Source: The Food Institute, A Deeper Look Into C-Store Sweet Snack Events. Aug 1, 2016.

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