As at-home entertaining surges, cake sales most likely will benefit. Cakes contributed 28.5 percent to the total in-store bakery in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009, representing flat growth from the previous year. The cake category includes decorated cakes, dessert cakes, ice cream cakes, snack cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, crème or pudding cakes, individual desserts, tortes, specialty dessert cakes, mousse cakes and wedding cakes. Nationally, cakes averaged $2,704 per store per week, a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The category received its highest sales nationally during the week of May 16, 2009, with $3,648 dollars per store per week — a 3.5 percent growth from the previous year. This peak in sales coincided with Mother's Day and the graduation season. Another significant peak for cakes in 2009 was the Easter holiday. Cakes averaged sales of $3,282 per week per store, representing a 2.4 percent growth compared to Easter week the previous year. Cakes' slowest sales period was the first week in December, averaging $2,033. This week is traditionally low, as it follows the Thanksgiving holiday when pies rule the bakery. The first few weeks after the New Year, when consumers' dietary resolutions prohibiting sweets are strongest, also were slow for the category.
Average weekly dollar sales in the cake category grew in all regions compared to the previous year. The East region had the highest average dollar sales with $3,211 per store per week, well above the national average. The Central region also surpassed the national average with $2,851 in weekly dollar sales per store, contributing 27.7 percent to the bakery department. The South region had weekly sales of $2,482 per store. Cake sales in the South contributed more to the bakery department than any other region with 33.1 percent, but lost 0.3 percent category share compared to the previous year. The West region had the largest increase in cake dollar sales, up 4.9 percent from the previous year, but contribution to the bakery department only grew by 0.3 percent.
Within the cake category, decorated cakes accounted for 34.2 percent of category sales nationally, followed by dessert cakes at 17.3 percent. The smaller subcategory contributions included cupcakes (9.8 percent), crème or pudding cakes (8.8 percent), snack cakes (7.1 percent), cheesecakes (6.6 percent), individual desserts (6.5 percent), ice cream cakes (6.1 percent) and specialty dessert cakes (1.7 percent). Collectively, tortes, mousse cakes and wedding cakes accounted for 1.8 percent of average weekly dollar sales.
Individual desserts represent an interesting and growing subcategory. The subcategory is composed of a variety of items sold by the slice, including cheesecakes and tiramisu, as well as sundaes and parfaits. Individual desserts' national average sales increased 9.6 percent compared to last year.
Individual dessert sales grew in every region compared to the previous year. In the East region, individual desserts had their largest average dollar growth with 15.1 percent above the previous year's sales; the subcategory's smallest growth, while still significant, occurred in the Central region with 4.1 percent. As the general population moves away from strict diets and towards indulging with moderation, smaller or individually sized dessert items are growing in popularity. Cupcakes fit the same trend, with average dollar sales registering double-digit sales growth nationally and regionally.
This sales review, provided by the Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen, includes supermarket in-store bakery scanner data results from Nov. 1, 2008 through Oct. 31, 2009, representing 63 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.