Canadians have a clear favorite in the sweet baked goods category. New research from Mintel reveals that nearly three quarters eat cookies, making it by far the nation’s most popular sweet baked good. Other top contenders making the list:
- muffins (57%)
- cakes (53%)
- donuts (45%)
- pastries (44%)
Pie makers may look to innovate toward individual occasions in an effort to grow share among younger consumers—Gregoire
“Cookies take the No. 1 slot in terms of popular sweet baked goods, even beating donuts—possibly the most intrinsically Canadian of all sweet baked goods. Given their flexibility and portability, it is not surprising that cookies are eaten more than other sweet baked goods,” says Joel Gregoire, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Our research suggests baked goods that are more portable prove more popular among younger Canadians, indicating pie makers may look to innovate toward individual occasions in an effort to grow share among these consumers in order to further develop the category.”
Consumers aged 18 to 44 are more likely to eat donuts (49% vs. 39% of consumers 45+), bars (38% vs. 29%) and cupcakes (37% vs. 21%), while half of older consumers have a sweet tooth for pies (vs. 39% of younger ones).
Nostalgia may prompt some consumption, as a third of consumers agree that sweet baked goods take them back to their childhood. But any time is a good time for a cookie or a brownie for the 31% who view sweet baked goods as a snack, particularly among consumers under 25.
Ingredient purchase factors
Younger consumers are also discovering the joys of baking. More than half enjoy baking from scratch, including 43% of young men. However, men’s passion for baking declines dramatically with age—young Canadian men are almost twice as likely to enjoy baking from scratch as men aged 65+. Overall, 45% of Canadian consumers enjoy baking from scratch.
One of the simplest ways for companies and brands to engage young men, and perhaps help them learn the craft, is through social media—Gregoire
Highlighting the importance of scratch baking, Canadians are far more likely to opt for baking sweet goods from scratch (69%) than baking from mixes (39%) or pre-made refrigerated dough (39%).
“While much has been written about cooking being a lost art, our research highlights a sweet future for baking among Canadians, with enjoyment being a key driver. Young Canadians’ passion for baking signifies an opportunity to invest in winning young men over to spur growth in scratch baking,” says Gregoire. “One of the simplest ways for companies and brands to engage these interested younger consumers, and perhaps help them learn the craft, is through social media, particularly through how-to videos, appealing visuals and smartly positioned branded content.”
Baked goods purchase decisions
Still, Canadians are most likely to get their baked goods from an in-store bakery (74%), and nearly two thirds go to store shelves.
Two in five Canadians are concerned about the amount of sugar in sweet baked goods, yet two in three believe it is okay to occasionally indulge. Women aged 18 to 24 are the most likely to say that sweet baked goods are bad for their health (46%) compared to 30% of Canadians overall.
Companies can include alternative sugar ingredients and local ingredients to address the concern over sugar—Gregoire
Interest in products with reduced sugar (24%) eclipses demand for products with GMO-free ingredients (11%), as well as products that are gluten-free (6%) and nut-free (4%). And 45% of consumers are interested in trying sweet baked goods with alternative sugar ingredients.
Price (67%) and flavor (60%) rank as the most important factors in purchasing decisions.
“While Canadians turn to sweet baked goods for indulgence, this can create challenges as consumers increasingly look for better-for-you options. Although there is a core group who look for gluten-free products, it’s a relatively small one. Sugar remains the biggest concern for consumers, but companies can leverage different tactics, including alternative sugar ingredients and local ingredients, to address this obstacle,” says Gregoire.