Fresh pies from in-store bakeries in the US generated sales close to $600m in 2012, outpacing most other in-store dessert categories, including cookies, cakes and specialty desserts, according to data from Nielsen.
The category’s strength was fueled by mini pies and indulgent flavor innovations, Nielsen said.
Mini pies represent less than 10% of the overall US pie category but sales grew 22% in 2012, making it the fastest growing pie on retail shelves, the research firm said in its recent report.
“Individually sold pie slices are following the same upward trend as minis, as sales grew 18% last year, proving consumers are looking for a personal-sized pie experience.”
“Consumer preference for mini pies and smaller pie slices opens the door to a key opportunity to make pies an everyday dessert for any household rather than just a holiday dessert for large gatherings,” Nielsen said.
Opportunities beyond winter holidays
While the majority of 2012 pie sales came in November and December, Nielsen said there are strong opportunities for sales throughout the rest of the year.
“Retailers that think about pushing pies solely around the holidays are leaving more than a few slices of opportunity on the table.”
If existing pie buyers purchased a pie just one more time per year, it could rake in an additional $234m in sales, Nielsen said.
There are also opportunities during non-winter holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Innovative flavors also spurring growth
Nielsen said that innovative flavors like Key lime, peanut butter and banana cream have spurred recent growth; “highlighting consumers’ desire for alternatives to the traditional favorites”.
However, Nielsen said manufacturers and retailers must find a healthy balance between new and traditional flavors. “It’s important for retailers to not abandon those long-standing iconic flavors though, as apple, pumpkin and cherry still account for 47% of all pies sales.”