Cookies have long been a beloved dessert item, trailing behind chocolate candy in sweet treat consumption. Most popular among children and older adults, young adults are least engaged with the category, with life stage affecting purchase decisions. Adults want a mature experience when it comes to cookies. Brands can look into providing a multisensory experience that introduces different textures, inclusion pairings, and expanding occasions to reinvigorate audiences. Variety in packaging can also help consumers decide on product based on their needs. Since consumers tend to be emotionally driven, brands can position cookies to support nostalgia to strengthen ties.
Cookie consumers frequent the category at least a few times a week, proving the category’s importance in the dessert space. Its association as a snack and a dessert has aided in its consumption. While consumption varies across generations and parental status, versatility in product offerings will increase engagement. Nostalgia, pleasure, playfulness, and adventure are four areas that draw consumer attention. Keeping those categories in mind, brands can formulate experiences with flavor.
Seasonal flavors can introduce limited-time offerings that can motivate people to purchase during festive occasions. Brands can also combine complementary dessert flavors to deliver indulgence and possibly even extend consumption times. Personalization can also further enhance the experience by encouraging playful exploration.
Ultimately, brands should not lose focus on advertising. Messaging should also center on adults. Capturing the demographic least inclined to purchase will benefit the category and expand its market reach.
TRENDS IN FLAVOR AND CONSUMPTION
of consumers associate great taste to premium cookies
What makes a premium cookie? Consumers value taste overall, but indulgence (53%) and great texture (48%) play a vital role when it comes to value. Brands can heighten the experience by testing out soft, crunchy, and moist formats on indulgent flavors.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE MARKET
Inflations impact on the market has helped increase cookie sales. The return to office work has subsided the baking craze, with shoppers returning to convenience-driven purchases. Packaged cookies currently dominate sales, but slow growth may be impacted by younger consumers. Less traditional products, such as cookie dough, are popular among Gen Z and Millennials, suggesting that innovation in the category can help.
While brands are a considerable option for consumers, private label options have gained public trust based on the value and innovation they bring to the table. Through private-label, consumers are being introduced to new, exclusive, and limited-time offerings that aren’t as widespread, appealing to adventurous consumers. Despite inflation, brands can assure consumers about the convenience and reliability that cookies, baked or packaged, can provide.
GENERAL COOKIE FLAVOR PREFERENCE
US consumers prefer this type of cookie flavor:
Familiarity may win in the long haul, but don’t underestimate innovation. While Gen Z may not be as active in the cookie space, their tastebuds prove otherwise when it comes to flavor innovation. Primarily, this younger demographic, along with Millennials, is open to trying unique cookie creations, with a significant interest in dessert-inspired flavors. Brands can expand offerings through creative flavorings and look at what other sweet treat categories are doing.