While the national trend is toward healthful eating and portion control, consumers still visit their local supermarket to satisfy their cravings for sweets. Specialty desserts represent a growing opportunity for supermarkets, as sales increased each of the past five years.
The specialty desserts category includes éclairs, cream puffs, cannoli, fudge, dipped or covered fruits, cobblers or crisps, custards or puddings, napoleons, dumplings, baklava, assorted or variety dessert trays and trifles.
The national average specialty dessert contribution to in-store bakery department sales was 1 percent in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 27, 2011, remaining steady from the previous year’s contribution. Nationally, specialty desserts averaged $101 per store per week, a 5.3 percent increase from the previous year.
The category’s highest sales nationally occurred the week ending Feb. 19, 2011, or Valentine’s Day week, with $359 per store per week and 75.8 percent growth. Popular Valentine’s items include flowers and candies, but bakery treats hold their own with consumers as gift ideas. The best-selling specialty dessert was dipped or covered fruits, which increased 269.7 percent. Mother’s Day also was a key holiday, as dollars for dipped or covered fruits increased nearly 50 percent.
Another significant week for specialty desserts was that of Dec. 25, 2010, when specialty desserts averaged dollar sales of $156 per week per store. This holiday period translated to 1.9 percent growth. Specialty desserts experienced their lowest average sales during the summer and early fall months, prior to the holiday season.
Compared to the previous year, specialty desserts’ average weekly sales grew in all regions but the Central region. The East region had the highest average dollar sales with $146 per store per week, 44.5 percent above the national average. The South region’s 1.2 percent contribution to the department was larger than the other regions, while average dollar sales per store per week totaled $100, up 8.1 percent. The Central region was the only region with decreased sales, down 4.4 percent.
Within specialty desserts, éclairs accounted for 32.1 percent of category sales nationally, followed by cannoli at 12.9 percent. Other category sales contributors included dipped or covered fruits (10.3 percent), other miscellaneous desserts (9.7 percent), cream puffs (8.2 percent), fudge (6.7 percent), cobblers or crisps (5.6 percent), custards or puddings (5.4 percent) and other miscellaneous specialty desserts, which accounted for less than 5 percent of sales each.
Dipped or covered fruits had the largest dollar and volume growth in the specialty desserts category. Dollar share for dipped or covered fruits increased 2.9 percent. Dollars for dipped or covered fruits increased for all regions, ranging from a 62.6 percent growth in the Central region to 24.3 percent in the West region. In terms of flavor, strawberries maintained their top position, while assorted fruits and caramel apples were a distant second and third. Dollars for all three flavors increased from the previous year.
This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, Inc., a Chicago-based fresh food consulting firm. Reported results are for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 27, 2011, representing more than 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact the Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; email: firstname.lastname@example.org