Making room for a little dessert

Despite the pie’s status as an easy dessert to purchase and bring to a celebration, pies are not immune to the trend of miniaturizing desserts. Smaller pies are another place where this category can grow as family sizes — and the number of families overall — continue to shrink.

Single-serve pie
The smaller pie category can grow as family sizes continue to shrink.

“The changes I’ve noticed over the past several years are that people are gravitating toward single-serve or smaller pies,” said Dennis Dipo, president of Fresh Foods Corp. of America doing business as Cyrus O’Leary’s Pies.

According to data from Mintel, family households consume more cakes and pies than non-family households; however, U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the number of households with children has been declining since 2003. With fewer people living in a family environment, portion sizes shrinking across the board, purchases of shareable products such as a 9-in. pie can see a decline. Smaller sizes can offer a potential to grab those single-person, everyday sales.

Mr. Iwaarden said he sees the smaller sizes as an opportunity for pies to become a daily treat rather than just a holiday dessert. “You can have a small pie for your dessert every day if you wanted,” he said.

Ms. Bond said she thinks smaller sizes could give the company the in on the back-to-school retail rush. Small, single-serve pies could fill the dessert spot in a child’s lunchbox, making this previously special-occasion dessert appropriate for every day.

As pie bakers think beyond convention to get their product in shopping carts more often than just Thanksgiving, smaller sizes could provide a way into consumers’ carts and daily dessert habits.