Mini-size products have more than a mini presence in the fresh bakery department. According to FreshFacts® Shopper Insights powered by Spire, one in four households purchased a mini product in 2011.
Mini products have existed for some time, but simultaneously satisfying portion control and indulgence has led to this area’s recent explosive growth. Mini brownies and muffins were the first to enter the scene, but the breadth of smaller-size products has extended into nearly every bakery category.
Three factors are critical for mini products’ success in the in-store bakery. Shoppers must see the value beyond a center-store substitute. If consumers do not see the value, then they are more price-sensitive. Going hand-in-hand with this theme is the need for innovation. Mini muffins and brownies were the first products of their kind, but a lack of innovation halted sales growth. The last essential component for success is understanding the size of a household and the product’s shelf life, and then creating package counts that make sense. Much of the appeal of mini-size products is built-in portion control, but that means many shoppers are not looking for a tub of mini cookies that dilutes the portion-control aspect.
Mini muffins are a prime example of the importance of these factors. After years of stagnant sales, mini muffins turned the trend around in 2011 with new offerings in smaller packages. The recent innovation led to a 9.1 percent increase in unit sales during the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2012, compared to the prior year.
Three of the hottest product groups for minis are cupcakes, pies and cinnamon rolls. Mini cupcakes have benefited from the halo effect of regular cupcake growth. With retailers carrying more items and unique flavors, mini cupcakes increased average dollar sales 16.6 percent during the past year.
One of the most notable mini products in terms of growth are cinnamon rolls. With retailers carrying multiple options, such as iced and un-iced, mini cinnamon rolls increased dollar sales 100.2 percent from the prior year. The 8.7 percent decline in regular cinnamon roll sales poses the likelihood that consumers traded from regular to mini cinnamon rolls.
A final notable product is mini pie, a relative newcomer to the minis category. A 33.4 percent national increase in mini pie sales helped drive the total pie category to positive sales. These handheld products capitalize on the consumer demand for convenience and portability, and provide pies with an option for everyday usage rather than a holiday focus.
Small-size products have forged a foothold in the bakery department, but they must continue to innovate and satisfy consumer needs to maintain growth.
This sales review is provided by Nielsen Perishables Group. Based in Chicago, the Nielsen Perishables Group specializes in research, analytics, marketing communications, category development, promotional best practices and shopper insights. Reported results are for April 9, 2011, through March 31, 2012, representing more than 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Nielsen Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; email: Kelli.Beckel@nielsen.com.