Mondelez's State of Snacking report found consumers are buying snacks to reward themselves (78%) and to provide a sense of comfort (77%). And while some consumers are looking to their sweet snacks for self-care and improving mental health, many consumers are also looking for unique formats like mini-pack formats to make indulgences a little more permissible, according to Nick Graham, global head of insights & analytics at Mondelēz International.
This demand for better-for-you and more traditional indulgences is also driving growth for the overall snack category. The global snacks market was valued at $1,450.4bn in 2021 and is expected to grow by a 2.7% CAGR from 2022 to 2023, spurred by growth in demand for on-the-go indulgences, healthier and organic products, and consumer behaviors that have persisted following the COVID pandemic, according to Grand View Research.
The upcoming Easter holiday also will give sweets and snacks an additional sales boost as celebrants mark the occasion with treats.
Last year, Easter candy sales reached more than $5bn for the first time, according to the National Confections Association. And this year sales could be higher with more celebrants (57%) planning to gather with family and friends than last year (50%), according to Numerator, which also found 50% of celebrants plan to buy candy and 70% plan to purchase food.
Marshmallow confection hop up just in time for Easter
In addition to the seasonal favorite Peeps, marshmallow-flavored confections are popping up on shelves for the Easter holiday.
Candymaker Mars released a limited-edition White Chocolate Marshmallow Crispy Treat flavor of M&Ms and a range of seasonal Skittles, Starburst, and Dove candies. Available nationwide, the White Chocolate Marshmallow Crispy Treat M&M is a rice crisp center, covered in white chocolate.
Frankford Candy and Kellogg are releasing two king-size Kellogg's Rice Krispies Candy Bars. The candy bar will come in a marshmallow and strawberry flavor and will be available in April at Walmart, Five Below, Big Lots, and online. Additionally, Frankford Candy released an expanded portfolio of its Easter candies, which include Marshmallow Candy Bunny and Marshmallow-Flavored Eggs.
Twists on classic cookies
New flavors, formats and packaging also are spurring growth in the US cookie segment, which is worth $11.67bn in 2023 and is expected to grow by a 3.38% CAGR from 2023 to 2028, according to a Mordor Intelligence report.
Oreo is expanding its line of iconic cookies with a Blackout Cake flavor, which will be available next month and while supplies last. The limited-edition cookie will include a layer of chocolate cake flavor on top of a layer of dark chocolate cake flavor crème wedged between two Oreo cookies.
Lastly, baked goods company Milk Bar is releasing two new products, bite-sized crispy cookies (crunchies) and ready-to-bake cookie dough. Milk Bar crunchies are puffed rice cereal cookies that come in Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Toast, Pretzel-y Chocolate Chip, and Vanilla Butter Crunch and will be available at Whole Foods, Giant, Stop and Shop, and more.
In partnership with General Mills, the brand will also release ready-to-bake cookie dough in Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow and Fruity Cereal for a limited time, which can be purchased at Target, Kroger, and other retailers.