Perhaps the first image that comes to mind when someone mentions pie is a cartoon character stealing the steaming fruit dessert from the windowsill or the comedic moment when a person’s face is covered in cream. Or maybe, instead of a first-thought, it’s the reminiscent smell of grandma pulling an apple pie from the oven at Christmastime, and everyone racing to the kitchen for a slice.
Pie is an American tradition. And for many years now, the pie industry has been experiencing a slow, steady growth. According to market research company Nielsen, in the past three years, the industry has had a compounded annual unit growth rate of 18.7%. In the 52 weeks leading up to June 30, 2018, the pie category made more than $800 million in sales, which is about a $17 million increase compared with the same time period in 2017.
“The pie industry is alive and healthy and robust,” said Par Grandinetti, president, Rocky Mountain Pies, Salt Lake City. “It’s vibrant but also demanding.”
Of course, around certain holidays consumers flock to the stores to grab up the beloved dessert to feed the whole family. And the pie industry acknowledges this seasonal peak; it’s the time of year when these producers bring in most of their sales.
In the hopes of stretching out these surging sale seasons, bakers seek to make the holiday flavors go further. For instance, pumpkin pie lasts throughout the fall.
“Now you’re already seeing pumpkin spice products being sold in August,” said Eric Richard, education coordinator, International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association. “So you can really draw on and jump on a current trend — in this case, pumpkin spice — by giving them the real deal: pumpkin pie.”
While the holidays do well to create a robust industry, bakers still search for areas of growth during the other months and make moves to entice consumers to purchase.