- Dollar sales in the cookie category hit $8.6 billion in the 12-month period ending Sept. 4, 2022, a 7.7% year-over-year increase, according to data shared by IRI.
- Mondelēz International continues to lead the category, hitting $4.04 billion in yearly sales, a 2.5% increase, per the report. Private label cookie brands totaled over $900 million, a 16.1% increase in dollar sales over the previous year. Smaller brands like Mondelēz-owned Tate’s Bake Shop saw a massive 31.5% sales jump, with over $180 million in dollar sales, during the period.
- Despite high inflation and declining volumes for the center-store cookie category in August, cookies continue to sell in high numbers, with private label options continuing to gain market share.
As several leading food companies prepare for a potential recession, the cookie category has remained largely resilient and its leading brands are approaching the uncertain economic situation with optimism.
In Mondelēz’s most recent quarterly earnings call this summer, CEO Dirk Van de Put said its leading cookie brands — Oreo and Chips Ahoy — grew 10.4% in sales during the previous quarter. He attributed this to the category experiencing strong durability coming out of pandemic-era supply constraints. He also attributed it to snacking becoming a more vital part of consumption. Despite IRI data indicating the growth of private label, the CEO also said consumers are unlikely to trade down to less expensive cookies.
“Our annual state of snacking survey shows that consumers increasingly prefer snacking over traditional meals,” Van de Put said on the earnings call. “While developed consumers express growing frustration with rising prices for a broad range of goods and services, they continue to perceive chocolate and biscuits as affordable indulgences and an important pick-me-up.”
But some research indicates the fate of the indulgent category is less certain. Sweets and snacks are at “high risk,” only projected to grow by 2.2% by 2024, according to market research firm GlobalData. The firm said across the board, treats are growing in value but not volume.
Consumers looking to eschew sugar also remain devoted to their favorite cookie brands. Sugar-free cookie maker Voortman, purchased by Hostess Brands in 2020, saw sales jump 23.9% in the 12-month period ending Sept. 4, to $178 million. In the snack cakes maker’s most recent earnings call, CEO and president Andrew Callahan said Voortman is responsible for roughly 10% of its total sales. He attributed its rise to an increased advertising push, along with growth in single-serve and multi-pack varieties of the cookies.
“Our whole portfolio is growing a lot, but Voortman has grown a lot,” Callahan said. “We are, by far, the leading share within our sugar-free portfolio. And that sub-segment of sugar-free is consistently growing at two times the rate of total sugar [cookies and wafers].”
Different types of cookies have also seen significant increases over the past 12 months. IRI’s classification of center-store cookies, offerings like those sold by Little Debbie maker McKee Foods, skyrocketed 19.4% in sales, hitting $867 million. Perimeter cookies, sold in the bakery aisle, similarly saw a 17.1% sales increase.