From healthful ingredients and new sizes to marketing campaigns and innovative packaging, cookie companies are embracing trends and finding new ways to compete.
Healthful indulgence has gone mainstream. Cookies are getting back to basics, showcasing natural and organic ingredients, allergen-free options and easy-open packaging. Mini cookies are replacing jumbo cookies as the must-have snack. Meanwhile, new marketing strategies are turning cookie eating into a playful competition.
The most prominent cookie trend has bakers catering to health conscious consumers by cleaning up labels and offering 100 percent whole grain, organic and natural cookies. “The clean [label] movement is here to stay, and companies that didn't realize it early on are scrambling to compete by reformulating products or changing their marketing strategy,” says Susana Ortiz, co-founder and C.E.O., Caroline's Desserts, Redmond, Wash.
An explosion of gluten-free products are filling supermarket shelves as more consumers tailor their diets to avoid food allergens. Cookies also are shedding fat and sugar and appearing in mini versions to meet the on-going demand for portion-controlled products. When it comes to cookies, “less is more,” Ortiz notes.
The mini cookie trend started a few years ago, but has crossed over to mainstream products in recent years. Caroline's Desserts offers Mmmmini™ products, a two-bite version of indulgence without the guilt. “This is a great time for distinctive cookies and desserts, because they offer affordable indulgences,” Ortiz adds.
In addition to mini cookies, 100-calorie packs, such as those by Nabisco®, also are responding to the portion-control/better-for-you trend, says Laurie Guzzinati, associate director, corporate and legal affairs, Kraft Foods Inc., East Hanover, N.J.
The continuing health and wellness trend is no surprise to San Diego-based Michael's Bakery Products LLC, one of the first companies to convert its entire cookie line to all-natural, zero trans fat, GMO-free and kosher certified in 2005.
While Chef Michael Radeczki, founder, Michael's Bakery Products, realized cookies are indulgent snacks, he wondered why indulgence couldn't be healthier, says Lisa Nappi, vice president product marketing manager, Michael's Bakery Products. Chef Michael worked with a nutritionist to make cookies that met certain dietary requirements, such as those for celiac disease and diabetes, without sacrificing flavor. At the end of last year, Michael's also introduced a new brand, Bonzers, a full line of reduced-fat cookies that meet the SB-12 wellness requirements for schools, grades K-12.
The more healthful indulgence Chef Michael sought now is in popular demand, with cookie companies everywhere joining the bandwagon. Indulgence in general remains a key aspect of the cookie experience. Michael's best selling flavors include chocolate chip or chunk, oatmeal raisin, peanut chip and white chocolate macadamia. Limited-time holiday cookies continue to draw enthusiasm from consumers. Micheal's white chocolate cranberry cookie became such a popular holiday favorite, the company now sells it year-round.
The best selling cookie brand for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 24, 2008, is Oreo®. One reason for Oreo's success might be its Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL) campaign, which turns cookie eating into a playful competition. DSRL is a race anyone with an Oreo Double Stuf cookie, a glass of milk and someone to compete against can participate in. To race, each person twists the cookie open, licks off all the crème, shows the cookie to his or her opponent, dunks it, eats it and drinks the glass of milk. The first to finish wins. To add to the competition, the famous quarterback brothers, Peyton and Eli Manning are inviting consumers to compete against them in a nationwide instant win promotion. Ten families will win a trip this July to compete in a DSRL match against the Mannings in New Orleans.
|Fresh Bakery Products||52 Weeks Ending Feb. 24 Dollar Sales||% Change Prior Year||52 Weeks Ending Feb. 24 Unit Sales||% Change Prior Year|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||201,315,000||-9.2||45,623,540||-12.5|
|Cakes (excl snack/coffee)||49,523,620||-4.4||131,306,400||-6.6|
|Frozen Bakery Products|
|Sweetgoods (excl cheesecake)||205,285,500||2.3||56,392,140||1.3|
|Refrigerated Bakery Products|
|Cakes (excl Snack/Coffee)||69,954,450||0.7||9,281,902||4.5|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||24,352,810||-12.0||4,605,113||-14.8|
|ADG March 19, 2008|
As easy-to-open packs rise in demand, say goodbye to packaging that tears as it opens. Kraft launched Snack N'Seal packaging, first on its Nabisco® Chewy Chips Ahoy!® in 2005 and the following year on three varieties in its Newtons® cookie line. The new packaging reportedly was developed in response to consumer feedback about frustrating, difficult-to-open, overwrapped cookie trays and packaging that tore when opened.
Last September, Kraft introduced the next generation of Snack N'Seal packaging on its Oreo cookie brand. The package contains a thermoformed tray in horizontal flow wrap, with a reclosable feature on the top panel, and a precision top and bottom die-cut opening with a pressure sensitive label built into the wrap. Consumers can peel back the “Lift here” tab to open the bag. Consumers can access the cookies and reclose the package without having to open the end seals. The new generation of Snack N'Seal packaging will be extended to Kraft's Chips Ahoy! product in the near future.
The bottom line in cookies trends is that from new sizes and organic ingredients, to packaging, to the way they are eaten, cookies are evolving and manufacturers are finding new ways to attract customers.
|Brands||52-week dollar sales||% change prior year||Dollar share||52-week unit sales||% change prior year||Unit Share|
|KRAFT NABISCO OREO||$446,646,800||-0.3||14.6||162,656,700||-5.8||12.7|
|KRAFT NABISCO CHIPS AHOY||$304,185,000||2.8||9.9||121,120,900||2.0||9.5|
|KSD KEEBLER CHIPS DELUXE||$94,915,000||-5.4||3.1||38,875,640||-4.1||3.0|
|KRAFT NABISCO NEWTONS||$93,516,580||-6.4||3.1||28,457,550||-9.7||2.2|
|KRAFT NABISCO 100 CALORIE PACKS||$90,835,700||33.4||3.0||32,689,280||27.3||2.6|
|KRAFT NABISCO NILLA||$78,242,360||-1.0||2.6||25,355,860||-3.2||2.0|
|KSD KEEBLER FUDGE SHOPPE||$74,111,520||-11.4||2.4||31,520,220||-15.6||2.5|
|PEPPERIDGE FARM MILANO||$70,300,860||-6.3||2.3||24,748,180||-8.0||1.9|
|Source: Information Resources Inc. statistics for the 52-week period ended Feb. 24, 2008.|