Frozen pies and cakes decline, says Mintel study

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cheesecake1_puratosSales in the U.S. of frozen and refrigerated cakes and pies declined as consumers begin to view them as indulgences and focus on fresh flavours, suggests Mintel research.

While total retail sales in the U.S. of prepared cakes and pies grew 24 per cent from 2009-14 to reach $11.2 billion, frozen and refrigerated cakes and pies was the only segment to decline (2.4 per cent), as consumers focus on fresh flavours and shift towards viewing pies and cakes as an indulgent snack.

In fact, according to the new research, some 41 per cent of consumers claim to eat prepared cakes and pies as a snack between meals, a higher percentage than many other occasions, including for a special occasion dessert (18 per cent).

In-store baked cakes and pies are driving the category with sales representing more than half of the overall category (52 per cent), followed by shelf-stable cupcakes and brownies at 23 per cent. Nearly half of consumers who eat prepared cakes and pies (46 per cent) view them as an indulgence and 42 per cent indicate they are open to trying new flavours of these items. Some 61 per cent agree gourmet or premium products are worth paying more for, including 72 per cent of those aged 25-34.

“The snacking mindset has permeated the dessert segment, as people are mindful of what they eat, but at the same time, want to indulge and treat themselves as well,” commented Mintel food analyst Amanda Topper, in a news release. “Much as we’ve seen with the high-end cupcake and donut trends, consumers are willing to pay a little bit extra for a small indulgence made with quality ingredients. Since almost two-thirds value taste over nutrition and more than two-thirds would like to see more flavour variety, this presents an opportunity to offer more unique, high-quality offerings, especially to younger consumers who are more brand loyal and willing to pay the price premium.”

Private label represents the largest category market share at 38 per cent, a larger share than the market share of all five brand leaders combined. The majority of sales within the prepared cakes and pies category are in supermarkets, which make up 65.8 per cent of the market. Men are significantly more likely than women to eat prepared cakes and pies as part of, or in place of, a meal. Some 24 per cent eat them as part of breakfast, and 25 per cent eat them as part of lunch, while 13 per cent use them as a meal replacement altogether. Women are significantly more likely than men to eat them as a dessert (75 percent, compared to 66 per cent of men).

“Over two-third of consumers have eaten some type of RTE cake or pie within the past six months, and the majority are open to experimenting with flavours,” noted Topper. “To that end, they can stay interested with hybrid flavours, such as sweet and salty options, or seasonal and limited-edition varieties. Natural ingredients, without additives or preservatives, are also important to consumers who buy prepared cakes and pies, so manufacturers should focus on promoting the quality of their ingredients, and promote them via easy-to-read ingredient lists. At the end of the day, people are willing to indulge, but they just want to make sure the calories are worth it.”

Source: Bakers journal