Dark chocolate brownies
In 2015, sales of brownies and dessert bars grew by double digits in the fresh department.

NEW YORK — Possibly because of health and wellness concerns, sales of specialty grains in the U.S. retail grocery department are growing at a double-digit percentage in 2015, Nielsen reported Dec. 28. Sales in another grain-based foods category, brownies and dessert bars, are growing by double digits in the fresh department.

Sales of specialty grains year to date grew 12.1% through Nov. 21.

“Health and wellness was top of mind for consumers, which evoked a new thirst for teas and juicing, along with a hunger for avant-garde offerings like avocado toast, ancient grains, traditional protein and protein alternatives,” Nielsen said.

An avian influenza outbreak among chickens and turkeys led to higher egg prices in 2015. Within the grocery department, both frozen egg substitutes (up 25%) and eggs (up 22.4%) trailed only shelf-stable convenient breakfast (40.5%). While specialty grains ranked No. 9 in the grocery department, honey was No. 10 at 9.7% growth.

In the fresh department, sales of brownies and dessert bars rose 17.4% year to date through Oct. 31 to rank fourth. “Other” fresh meat grinds, which consist of ground exotic meats such as boar, bison and venison, ranked first with sales growth of 37.6%.