Consumers are still feeling the effects of the economy, and they continue to cut back on restaurant dining. But they haven't lost their taste for restaurant-quality meals. Rolls, which have grown in total bakery share during the past year, provide a bread option that can dress up dinners at home and turn a brown bag lunch into a deli special.
Breads and rolls constitute the second largest super-category in the bakery department, behind only desserts. Rolls accounted for 36 percent of the bread and rolls super-category sales during the 52 weeks ending June 27, 2009. Nationally, rolls averaged $1,010 per week per store, a 7.1 percent increase from the previous year. Rolls contributed 10.8 percent to total bakery dollar sales, up 0.2 percent from the previous year.
The subcategories within the rolls category are sandwich rolls, dinner rolls, crusty/specialty, assorted/variety bulk, hamburger/hot dog buns, croissants, roll trays and roll dough. The top three roll subcategories — sandwich rolls, dinner rolls and crusty/specialty — made up almost two-thirds of the rolls category, with a 61 percent share. This reflects consumers' increased use of rolls as lunch and dinner staples. Roll trays and roll dough had the smallest dollar share with a combined share total of 0.1 percent.
Across the United States, assorted/variety bulk rolls and hamburger/hotdog buns grew the most among the roll subcategories, with average dollar sales up 13.6 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively. This could be indicative of consumers looking to save, both by buying in bulk and by cooking hamburgers instead of more expensive items. Sandwich rolls, dinner rolls and crusty/specialty rolls also increased average dollar sales versus a year ago. Rolls had a spike in dollar sales around Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Overall roll sales peaked during the week of December 21, with $1,667 per store as families celebrated the holiday season.
The East region sold the most rolls on average with $2,150 per store per week, up 7.3 percent from the previous year. Crusty/specialty rolls increased the most in the East region, followed by assorted/variety bulk rolls, up 14.3 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively. Roll contribution to total bakery in the East region was 15.5 percent of all bakery sales, the largest contribution of any region.
The Central region's average roll sales made up 8.4 percent of all bakery sales. Dollar sales increased 5.3 percent compared to the previous year, to $857 per store per week up from $814. The Central region consumer preferences are different than the other regions, as dinner rolls increased the most in the region, up 11.2 percent, and assorted/variety bulk rolls declined 15.3 percent.
The West region had the most growth in average dollar sales, up 9.5 percent, and was the only region that increased croissant sales. In the South region, average roll sales increased 6 percent, driven primarily by an increase in hamburger/hot dog buns.
Rolls have increased in sales from the previous year at both the national and regional levels. As consumers continue to eat more at home, the rolls category has the opportunity to continue to improve its category performance within bakery.
This sales review, provided by the Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen, includes supermarket in-store bakery scanner data results from June 28, 2008 through June 27, 2009, representing more than 62 percent of the 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.