Although rolls represent a relatively small proportion of bakery sales compared to other products in supermarket in-store bakeries, rolls reflect much of the same growth trends as other bakery products. More upscale varieties, such as crusty/specialty rolls and rolls with more healthful attributes, are performing well.
The breads/rolls category represented 29.7 percent of bakery sales during the 52 weeks ending May 24, 2008, and rolls alone contributed 11.3 percent to total department sales. That number is down from 11.4 percent the previous year, and bakery rolls lost 1.2 percent of total breads/rolls dollar share. But overall, roll dollar sales grew 4.2 percent, resulting from sales growth in all subcategories except roll dough. Sales for rolls averaged $1,015 in weekly store sales across the United States, an increase of 5.7 percent over the previous 52-week period.
Sandwich rolls are the leading subcategory, with 27.6 percent of total roll dollar share. Despite a dollar sales increase of 0.2 percent, sandwich rolls lost dollar share compared to the previous year. Sandwich rolls contributed to 3.1 percent of overall bakery department sales during this time period. Of the other rolls subcategories, dinner rolls contributed 21.7 percent to total roll dollar sales, followed by crusty/specialty rolls at 14.3 percent, hamburger/hotdog buns at 12.5 percent and assorted/variety bulk at 12 percent.
Roll trays and roll dough rounded out the category with less than 1 percent share of roll dollar sales each. Sales of crusty/specialty rolls grew significantly versus the previous period to 14.3 percent; a dollar share gain of 1.3 percent.
Health concerns are top of mind for consumers, resulting in a sales increase in rolls with healthful attributes. Although only 1.7 percent of all rolls can be identified as having health attributes, sales for these products increased 57.7 percent versus the previous 52-week period. Health attributes include cholesterol-free, fat-free, low carb, lite, no trans fat and whole grain. All health attributes, except low carb, grew dollar sales versus a year ago.
Only the West region increased roll dollar sales contribution to total the bakery department compared to the previous year. The West had lower than average dollar sales per store per week, but registered the greatest dollar growth versus the prior 52-week period (7.2 percent). The East brought in significantly higher average dollars per store per week compared to the other regions at $1,982.
Sales of rolls are strongly tied to holidays. Dollar sales peaked during Thanksgiving and Christmas when consumers serve dinner rolls with holiday meals. The summer holidays also posted increased sales with consumers' frequent use of hamburger and hotdog buns for barbecues and other outdoor activities. The category hit an annual low the first week in December, averaging $895 per week per store as consumers were focused on Thanksgiving leftovers.
This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group Inc., West Dundee, Ill., an independent consulting firm. Reported results are for weeks ending June 2, 2007 through May 24, 2008, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 62.1 percent of national supermarket ACV share.
For more information about this report or the Perishables Group, call Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; or e-mail KelliB@perishablesgroup.com.