When it comes to cookie production, in-store bakers don’t have much downtime after the December holidays before they are battling through another spike in demand. Valentine’s Day traditionally ranks as the second most important holiday for in-store bakeries to capitalize on cookie sales.
In the latest 52 weeks ending Nov. 27, 2010, cookies contributed 9.9 percent of total bakery dollar sales across the U.S., a slight increase from the previous year. The cookie category includes everyday cookies, iced cookies, specialty cookies, cookie platters, message cookies, assorted/variety bulk cookies, mini cookies, filled cookies, cookie doughs/ mixes and other cookies. Nationally, cookies averaged $981 per store per week, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous year, and the fifth straight year that average cookie sales have increased.
The category saw its highest sales the last two weeks of December 2009, as consumers spent $1,673 and $1,602, respectively, per store per week in preparation for the holidays. The category registered its lowest sales the following four weeks, reaching less than half the previous weeks’ per-store-per-week sales, most likely due to New Year’s diet resolutions. The lull in sales quickly ended, though, as Valentine’s Day presented another peak week for cookie sales with $1,317 per store the week of Feb. 13, 2010.
Average weekly dollar sales for the cookie category grew in every U.S. region compared to the previous year. The Central region had the highest average dollar sales with $1,337 per store per week and increased the most at 4.6 percent from the prior year. The East region was not far behind with sales of $1,309 per store per week, though it contributed the smallest percentage of department sales in this region with 8.5 percent. The West region also surpassed the national average with $1,064 in weekly sales per store. The South region was the only region that fell below the national average, registering $678 per store per week. However, cookie sales in the South contributed 12.4 percent to total bakery sales, more than any other region.
Within the cookie category, everyday cookies accounted for 57.6 percent of category sales nationally for the latest 52 weeks. Iced cookies accounted for another 15.6 percent of sales. The smaller category contributions included specialty cookies at 7.3 percent, cookie platters at 5 percent, message cookies at 4.5 percent, other cookies at 4.4 percent and mini cookies at 4.1 percent. Collectively, filled, assorted/variety bulk and cookie doughs/mixes accounted for 1.4 percent of average weekly dollar sales.
Even though it is a relatively small portion of the cookie category, assorted/variety bulk cookies are a growing area 10 • Modern Baking • February, 2011 of interest. Buying cookies in bulk lowers the per unit price, which is an interesting value proposition to some consumers. Nationally, sales increased 257.2 percent compared to a year ago, predominantly a result of expanded distribution in the East and West regions. It will be interesting to watch whether the Central and South regions follow suit in 2011.
This sales review, provided by the Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen, includes supermarket in-store bakery scanner data results from Dec. 5, 2009, through Nov. 27, 2010, representing more than 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact the Perishables Group’s Kelli Beckel by phone: 773/929-7013, or e-mail: KelliB@perishablesgroup.com.