Category Insight: Cookies Mix it Up

October 10, 2016
Dessert Snacks Trends

This post is just the icing on the cookie -- click here for the full report! 

Cookies are a part of nearly every household pantry. Whether it’s a tray of warm, fresh cookies out of the oven, or a sleeve of your favorite store-bought cookie, they have and will always be a go-to indulgence. As companies look to meet the demand for cleaner and more convenient snacks, cookies are becoming way more than just a dessert. The cookie segment is primed for innovation, with products reflecting interest in clean label, protein and breakfast biscuits. Other innovative ideas such as hybrid desserts are also adding a twist.

Global Trends in Flavor Growth

Since 2010, nut flavor has seen more global growth than other flavors. With 710 new nut-flavored cookie products launched in 2015, that was a 60.3% jump in just five years (443 to 710). In the first half of 2016, nut-flavored cookie product growth continued with 310 new product launches. The second-highest growth can be found in fruit flavorings, with a 48% increase. Sugar flavors is a close third, pushing 40.8% growth.

Top 10 Global Flavors

1. Nut

2. Fruit

3. Sugar

4. Citrus Fruit

5. Chocolate

6. Seed

7. Chocolate & Nut

8. Berry Fruit

9. Other Dairy

10. Milk


Get the full report here to see new ways the cookie category is shaping up! 


North American Trends in Flavor Growth

Since 2010, citrus fruit has been the flavor that has seen the most growth. With 20 new citrus fruit-flavored cookie products launched in 2015, that is 42.9% growth since 2014 (14 to 24). In the first half of 2016, citrus fruit-flavored cookie product stayed strong with nine new product launches. The second highest growth can be found in chocolate & nut flavorings, with a 20% increase and fruit flavors, a close third, pushing 15.4% growth.

Top 10 North American Flavors

1. Citrus Fruit

2. Chocolate & Nut

3. Fruit

4. Chocolate

5. Berry Fruit

6. Sugar

7. Nut

8. Spice

9. Other Dairy

10. Seed



Top 10 Growing Claims

Jan. 2010-Dec. 2015

1. Ethical- Environmentally Friendly Product +776%

2. Ethical (Human) +560%

3. Ease of Use +466%

4. Ethical- Animal +224%

5. High Protein +215%

6. Other (Functional) +209%

7. Time/Speed +173%

8. High/Added Fiber +153%

9. GMO Free +140%

10. Low/No/Reduced Transfat +125%


Bringing Perceived Nutrition to Cookies

Mintel data shows that as consumers increase their interest in healthy eating, they decrease their interest in cookies. Here’s a look at three ways companies are trying to regain consumer interest, including: cookies as breakfast products, clean label and protein-infused cookies.

Click here for the full report, including how cookie chips are serving up flavor. 


As one of the most important meals of the day, breakfast is emerging as a new growth opportunity. We can see this in recent launches: chocolate and cereal breakfast biscuits from South Africa, chocolate-chip and honey breakfast biscuits from France and shortbread biscuits from Italy. Cereal specialist Kellogg has launched many new products for breakfast such as the Nutri-Grain Breakfast Biscuit, featuring 21g of whole grain oats per bar. American company, Nothin’ But, recently launched a chocolate coconut almond granola cookie perfect for on-the-go breakfast. This product took on breakfast with oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit- ingredients that are closely identified with starting out the day right.

Clean Label

According to Canadean’s Product Launch Analytics database of new products, the percentage of new bakery foods claiming to be free of high fructose corn syrup nearly tripled in 2015, going from 5.3% of launches in 2014 to 14.1% of introductions in 2015. The percentage of launches claiming to be free of artificial flavors, trans fat, and genetically modified ingredients nearly doubled over this same period. This further proves the push for cleaner ingredients continues to drive new product launches.



With the switch to healthier eating and more active lifestyles on the rise is leading to a demand for high-protein products. When looking for a perfect protein packed snack, consumers can head straight to the cookie aisle. With products like Lenny & Larry’s The complete Cookie and Diet Snack’s Chocolate Flavored High Protein Wafers, there is no shortage of protein packed cookie products on the market.

There's even more to the cookie category's recipe for innovation. Get the full report here! 



Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market.

Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.


at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit



Sources: Mintel GNPD, Mintel Food & Drink, Mintel Reports, Canadean