Cakes continue to dominate as the largest sales category in supermarket in-store bakery departments. In-store bakeries’ broad selection of cakes for any occasion draws customers and high profit margins, making the category key to bakery success.
Cakes continue to dominate as the largest sales category in supermarket in-store bakery departments. In-store bakeries' broad selection of cakes for any occasion draws customers and high profit margins, making the category key to bakery success.
In the United States, average cake contribution to total in-store bakery sales was 28.6 percent during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 27, 2008. The cake category's contribution percentage shows no change compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Perishables Group, a Chicago-based independent consulting firm. 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, cake sales averaged $2,584 a week per store, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year.
The category saw its highest sales nationally the week of May 17 with sales of $3,471 per store, showing 8.9 percent growth from the previous year. This peak in sales coincided with Mother's Day and the graduation season. Another significant peak week for cakes occurred during Easter, when weekly cake sales averaged $3,147 per store, which is 16.3 percent higher than Easter week 2007. Cakes saw their lowest sales during the first week in December, with $1,833 per store; this was still an increase compared to the previous year with $1,705. The first week in December is traditionally low in cake sales, as it follows the Thanksgiving holiday in which pies take center stage.
Average weekly dollar sales for the cake category grew in all regions compared to the previous year. The East region generated the highest weekly dollar sales with $2,965 per store, well above the national average of $2,584. The Central region also surpassed the national average with $2,723 weekly sales per store and a 27.8 percent contribution to the department, which is a slight increase over 27.6 percent the year earlier. With the largest contribution to department sales at 33.5 percent, the South region averaged $2,468 a week per store, which was a 4.9 percent increase over the previous year. The West region increased sales by 10.7 percent from the previous year with a 28.2 percent contribution to total department, up from 27.4 percent last year.
Breaking down the cakes category, decorated cakes accounted for 35.9 percent of category sales nationally, followed by dessert cakes at 20.9 percent. The smaller sub-category contributions included cupcakes (8.9 percent), crème or pudding cakes (8.9 percent), snack cakes (6.9 percent), individual desserts (6.4 percent), cheesecakes (6 percent), ice cream cakes (5.9 percent) and wedding cakes (1.8).
Smaller portions hitting big
A growing sub-category is individual desserts, which comprise a variety of products sold by the slice or in smaller serving sizes, including cheesecakes, tiramisu and parfaits. The national average sales of individual desserts increased 28 percent over the previous year, and across all regions, individual desserts grew compared to the previous year. In the Central region, average weekly sales of this sub-category increased the most-40.1 percent above the previous year's sales. Lowest growth, while still significant, occurred in the East with 11.3 percent. This sub-category is seeing growth as consumers move away from strict diets and toward indulging with moderation. In-store bakery chains also are capitalizing on the trend by designing more merchandising displays and packaging products that promote individual dessert sales.
This sales review, provided by the Perishables Group, includes supermarket in-store bakery scanner data results for Oct. 6, 2007 through Sept. 27, 2008, representing more than 62 percent of national supermarket ACV share.
For more information about this report or the Perishables Group, contact Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; e-mail, KelliB@perishablesgroup.com