Snacks & Candy

Sweet Baked Goods Can Co-Exist With Healthy Snacks

Packaging, placement in convenience stores among key strategies

ROCKVILLE, Md. --Americans are eating and snacking healthier, but they do love to indulge in sweet baked goods such as cookies, snack cakes, doughnuts, muffins and other treats. And most people like the regular versions over low or fat-free types. cookies

Consumers generally eat sweet baked goods to indulge in a treat. Increasingly, however, some are looking for healthier more nutritious indulgences, or "better-for-you" treats that still taste good, according to the Packaged Facts report Sweet Baked Goods: U.S. Market Trends.

Data featured in the report shows that 54% of adults say they always try to eat healthy foods and maintain a balanced diet. Conversely and indulgently, nearly 60% of adults say they eat foods they like regardless of calories.

Snacking has become the new way to eat for many and two-thirds of adults over the age of 18 (155 million people) agree a little or a lot that they often snack between meals. About 30% in 2015 say they usually only snack on healthy foods. A third of adults pick salty snacks as their favorite while over 40% frequently eat sweets.

Packaged Facts found that despite consumers' love of packaged sweet baked goods—spending $20 billion in 2014—the market is mature with growth challenged by health and diet concerns, changing snacking choices and an increasing desire for fresh rather than packaged foods.

Sales grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% since 2010; however, higher pricing drove much of the gains.

Smaller products and packaging designed for snacking on the go have been extremely popular and at relatively high price points have helped drive dollar sales higher. These products meet the desire for convenience as busy consumers seek out "minis," single packs and other grab-and-go products. Smaller-size products like these also address the needs of the growing single or dual household segment, older people, and consumers watching their weight or overall health.

The market will continue to be challenged in the future as consumers stay concerned about health and diet, and increasingly seek out healthier snacks, or when they want to indulge, fresher baked goods from in-store and independent bakeries. Lower-priced private-label products, about 25% of dollar sales, will put pressure on national brand marketers that will have to continue innovating with product, marketing and retail strategies.

Product trends will navigate between healthier, more nutritious and indulgent, more decadent sweet treats.

Marketing initiatives will continue to integrate social media with traditional advertising and promotional campaigns especially targeting millennials. Manufacturers should continue to explore merchandising packaged products around the bakery department and further intensify efforts in non-grocery channels like convenience stores, which have been growing their share of sweet baked goods sales.

Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and pet products and services.

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