Private label push for cookies
The cookie category sits in an interesting position heading into 2018, with private label helping offset a downtrend at some of the major branded players during 2017.
In the 52 weeks ended July 9, dollar sales in the cookies category totaled $7,502 million, up 0.92% from the same period a year ago, according to I.R.I. Unit sales in the category, though, eased 0.26% to 2,861 million.
Pacing category growth during the period was private label cookies, which saw dollar sales increase 5.6% during the 52 weeks ended July 9 to $1,182 million. The gain in private label cookie sales helped offset declines across most of the top 5 cookie vendors. The exception to the declines was Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., whose Pepperidge Farm business posted a 3.9% increase in dollar sales during the period to $373 million, according to I.R.I.
Pepperidge has benefited from the April launch of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Thin & Crispy cookies.
“These new thin and crispy cookies are simply delicious,” Denise M. Morrison, president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co., said during a May conference call with analysts. “They leverage our baking heritage and are made with simple, real food ingredients.”
The cookies are available in three flavors: milk chocolate chip, dark chocolate chip and triple chocolate chip. The cookies contain between 9 and 12 ingredients, depending on the flavor, including chocolate, flour, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt.
Additionally, Ms. Morrison said Pepperidge has upgraded its Classic cookie line, noting that the company needed “to respond to the fact that the market has moved in terms of quality and we need to maintain that edge.”
The largest cookie maker, Mondelez International, Inc., East Hanover, N.J., sustained a 1% decline in dollar sales and a 1.4% decline in unit sales in the 52 weeks ended July 9, according to I.R.I. The company’s lead Oreo brand sustained a 7.6% decline in sales during the period, while Oreo Double Stuf sales fell 6.7%. On the positive side, sales of belVita cookies surged 19% and Chips Ahoy! increased 2.7% during the period, according to I.R.I.
Mondelez also has taken steps to extend its Oreo cookie brand into other more indulgent channels. Last November, the company debuted Milka Oreo chocolate candy bars. The bars are available in several varieties, featuring bits of Oreo cookies and vanilla creme along with Milka’s European chocolate candy. The product is available in three formats: The Milka Oreo Big Crunch Chocolate Candy Bar, the Milka Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar and the Milka Oreo Choco-Mix Snack Mix Bag.