Brownie and dessert bar sales grew over last year, due primarily to the comfort food trend and subsequent popularity of large, gourmet brownies. Brownies fall into the desserts super-category in the bakery department, and made up 3 percent of dessert category sales during the 52 weeks ending March 28, 2009, according to the Perishables Group, a Chicago-based independant consulting firm.
Brownies and dessert bar subcategories include regular brownies, mini/two-bite brownies, iced brownies, gourmet/large brownies, message brownies, blondies and dessert bars. Regular brownies made up more than one-third of the category, while mini/two-bite brownies accounted for a quarter of category dollar sales. Iced brownies and gourmet/large brownies represented 18.2 percent and 15.3 percent of all brownie dollar sales, respectively, followed by dessert bars with 6 percent. Message brownies and blondies contributed less than 1 percent.
Nationally, brownies and dessert bars averaged $125 per week per store, a 9.6 percent increase from the previous year. Brownies and dessert bars outperformed the entire desserts super-category in dollar growth compared to the previous year.
Across the U.S., gourmet/large brownies posted the largest gains among the brownies and dessert bar subcategories, with average dollar sales up 54.4 percent versus the previous year. Also up in average dollars sales were regular brownies, message brownies and blondies. Dessert bars and mini/two-bite brownies lost dollar sales. Brownies and dessert bars spiked in dollar sales around Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Valentine's Day. The greatest average sales occurred during the Christmas holiday, with $171 per store.
The East region sold the most brownies and dessert bars on average with $211 per store per week, up 10.7 percent from the previous year. Regular brownies had the highest average dollar sales among subcategories with $113 per store per week. Iced brownies were the only brownies and dessert bar subcategory to lose dollar sales, with a 1.8 percent decline versus year ago. Brownies and dessert bar contribution to total bakery in the East region was 1.5 percent of all bakery sales.
The West's average brownie and dessert bar dollar sales increased 7.5 percent compared to the previous year, up to $140 per store per week. Blondies increased average dollar sales by 189.7 percent, but still only accounted for 0.6 percent of all brownies and dessert bar dollar sales.
The Central region sold $136 per store per week in brownies and dessert bars this year, up 10.7 percent. Gourmet/large brownies increased average dollar sales by 74.8 percent, driving the category in the Central region. Iced brownies were the only brownies and dessert bar subcategory to decline versus year ago.
The South region had the fewest brownie and dessert bar sales during this 52-week period, with $81 per store per week. Gourmet/large brownies were up 50.7 percent in average dollar sales and iced brownies increased 6.8 percent versus the previous year.
Brownies and dessert bars have increased in dollar sales from the previous year both nationally and regionally. At the subcategory level, regular brownies and gourmet/large brownies saw consistent gains versus year ago across all four regions. Consumers are cutting back their spending in many areas, but dessert remains an affordable indulgence during these tough economic times.
This sales review, provided by the Perishables Group, includes supermarket in-store bakery scanner data results from March 29, 2008 through March 28, 2009, represeenting more than 62 percent of 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.