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Doughnuts dominate the US baked goods market

Press release   •   May 01, 2013 09:45 BST

In retail current value terms, the US baked goods market increased by 3% to reach US$48.6 billion in 2012, while retail volume sales remained static at 7.7 million tonnes.

The baked goods sector; primarily including bread, scones, cakes, pastries, biscuits, cereals and others; is well entrenched and developed in the US.

Increases within the industry largely stemmed from the continued push towards higher-end and healthier products. The growth of healthier products was mostly seen within packaged bread, where wholewheat and multigrain breads have been shown to have a positive effect on weight loss.

In addition, artisanal pastries and cakes are largely seen as an indulgent but affordable treat, and have therefore continued to do well despite the recession.

The growth experienced by baked goods in 2012 was largely in line with recent years. A push towards healthier breads and more premium cakes and pastries helped to keep retail sales high. Increasingly, however, gluten-free diets have started to gain a great deal of popularity.

While the introduction of numerous gluten-free baked goods helped diminish this effect, these introductions may eventually be unable to stop the effect of the large migration of consumers from bread to rice-based or other gluten-free products.

Doughnuts remained the most popular type of pastries, accounting for a 22% share of sales in 2012. Croissants, which over the past few years have become increasingly popular, recorded a one percentage point rise in share over the past five years as a whole to reach 8% of retail value sales in 2012. Much of croissants' popularity comes from unpackaged or artisanal varieties.

Both artisanal and private label witnessed marginal increases in their value sales in 2012, and held a value share of 50% and 14% (GBO terms) respectively. While this may seem strange, given their polar positions on the price scale, it shows that the economic recovery has been uneven, as higher earners have regained their financial footing, and are returning to their former food shopping habits more quickly than lower earners.

The value share of most major brands diminished in 2012 as artisanal and private label bread continued to win out. Only Flowers Foods Inc was able to hold on to its share in overall baked goods, with the company accounting for 3% of value sales. The strong performance of the Nature's Own brand helped to boost an otherwise stagnant share for Flowers.

Cakes will be the fastest-growing area of the US baked goods sector through to 2017, growing by 8% overall to reach US$9.8 billion. The growth is largely not out of line with recent growth, and will likely be boosted by a recovering economy, that will further allow in-store and other bakeries to put forward higher-end and more indulgent cake varieties.

For more information on the US baked goods industry, see the latest research: US Baked Goods Industry

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