Muffins have become a staple for supermarket in-store bakery operators; they are the third largest breakfast category in the bakery department behind donuts and sweetgoods. Extra merchandising efforts, such as displaying fresh-baked muffin varieties in dedicated self-service muffin carts, draw sales from customers seeking a convenient complement to coffee or lunches. Packaged, assorted varieties fit the bill as less-sweet bakery options for families.
Muffins accounted for 20 percent of breakfast bakery category sales during the 52 weeks ending Nov. 29, 2008, according to the Perishables Group. Nationally, muffin sales averaged $401 a week per store, a 5.5 percent increase from the previous year. Overall, muffins contributed 4.4 percent to total bakery sales, 0.1 percent lower than the previous year's level of contribution.
The Perishables Group tracks muffin sales in four subcategories: regular muffins, gourmet/jumbo muffins, mini muffins and muffin tops/crowns. Regular-size muffins made up half of the muffin category, with a 50.8 percent share. Gourmet/jumbo muffins and mini muffins represented 33.6 percent and 15.3 percent of all muffin dollar sales, respectively. Muffin tops/crowns, only account for 0.3 percent of muffin sales.
When it comes to selecting single muffins, in-store consumers chose blueberry as their top flavor for gourmet or jumbo muffins. As the muffin sizes get smaller, customers prefer multiple flavors; assorted/variety was the leading flavor choice in the mini muffin segment. Nationwide, regular muffins and mini muffins grew the most among the muffin subcategories, with average dollar sales up 9 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. Also up in average dollars sales were gourmet/jumbo muffins.
Regionally, the East sold the most muffins, averaging $925 a week per store, up 6.2 percent from the previous year ending Dec. 1, 2007. And, muffin contribution to total bakery in the East was 6.9 percent of bakery sales, the largest contribution of any region. Regular muffin sales increased the most in the East region, followed by gourmet/jumbo muffins, up 10 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
In the West, average muffin sales made up 3.8 percent of bakery sales. Weekly dollar sales declined 0.5 percent to $338 per store compared to $340 the previous year. Of the subcategories, gourmet/jumbo muffins and mini muffins slightly increased in average dollar sales from the prior year. Regular muffins were the only subcategory to decline during this period in the West, down 3.3 percent.
The Central region's average weekly sales of $336 per store is up 6 percent from the previous year. Mini muffins increased sales by 28.8 percent, driving the muffin category in the Central region. Regular muffins also increased average dollar sales versus a year ago, up 7.9 percent. In contrast, gourmet/jumbo muffins declined 3.4 percent. Overall, muffin sales accounted for 3.4 percent of all bakery sales in the Central region.
The South region had the lowest muffin sales during the 52-week period, with weekly sales of $254 per store. However, the region showed the greatest percentage of annual sales growth (up 9.7 percent) in the category compared to other regions. Regular muffins increased the most in the South region, up 17.3 percent in dollar sales. Muffin contribution to total bakery in the South region was 3.4 percent of bakery sales.
Overall, muffins have increased in dollar sales from the previous year at both a national and regional level, with the exception of the West. However, based on the mixed results among the subcategories, it appears consumers' preferences vary by region.
This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group Inc., Chicago, an independent consulting firm for the fresh food industry. For more information, contact Perishables Group's Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.