Story by Beth Day
KANSAS CITY, MO —Pies are a humble food made with a myriad of savory and sweet fillings baked or fried within a flaky crust. They can be as simple or elegant as the ingredients, craft, individual or occasion dictate.
A quintessential comfort food, pies have been tried and enjoyed by most consumers. Research firm Datassential says that most food trends start on menus, and when tracking trends, the firm uses what it calls the Menu Adoption Cycle (MAC). According to Datassential, pie is in the Ubiquity stage of the MAC — widespread and known by 97% of consumers. Ninety-two percent have tried pie, and nearly 80% said they either like or love it, creating a huge opportunity for pie makers to engage and excite.
There is growth across all pie categories, mostly due to higher costs driving up prices. In the supermarket perimeter, there is also an increase in unit sales for whole pies.
“While perimeter pies are declining overall in unit sales driven by single-serve individual pies, perimeter whole pies, which account for 72% of perimeter pie sales, show strong unit sales growth, up 8.8 percent,” said Melissa Altobelli, senior VP, client insights, dairy and bakery vertical for Circana.
Center store whole pies demonstrated both stronger dollar and unit sales growth for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 13, according to Circana. Breaking it down, center store snack pies consistently earn more dollar sales. However, there was triple-digit dollar sales growth for center store whole pies, at 177.6% compared with 8.3% for snack pies. There were also triple-digit gains in unit sales for center store whole pies vs. declines for snack pie units sold. This purchasing behavior points to ever-evolving consumption patterns. Altobelli noted that since whole pies are the sizes driving growth, pie producers should focus their innovation on those products.