Consumers are looking for fun in their snacks, which is why bakers should be looking to variety and innovation to entice buyers to buy cakes and snack cakes. Flavor innovation is an important way to get their attention.

“Unique, seasonal and co-branded flavors are identified as features that would inspire trial,” Mintel said in its “Prepared Cakes, Pies and Pastries” 2021 Executive Summary report released in August. “Category players will find success with nostalgic flavors that embrace fun, or sophisticated flavor profiles that push the category in a premium direction.”

Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI executive vice president and practice leader, client insights, advised cake bakers to keep long-standing fan favorites but to experiment with new flavors.

“The big flavors always are big — the chocolate, the vanilla — that doesn’t change,” she said. “But every now and again, you can see a pop of incrementality from a new flavor. It may not have the staying power, but that’s OK.”

Ms. Lyons Wyatt went on to say that brands should keep their top sellers, but they should save room in their portfolio to rotate in some LTOs, which is key to driving excitement for consumers.

LTOs are often tied to holidays or are seasonal, such as caramel or pumpkin spice flavors in the fall. These can be found in center-store offerings and in-store bakeries.

“A lot of times the consumer wants to try new things. They are on the lookout for new types of concoctions and new innovations,” said Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator for International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA).There’s a lot of opportunities for creativity when it comes to toppings, fillings and icings, and consumers can just buy a single cupcake or half a dozen cupcakes instead of investing in a full-size cake. It is a perfect vehicle for bakeries and manufacturers to get creative when it comes to different indulgent combinations.”

Hostess features several holiday goodies, including these Halloween offerings: Iced Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Spice Twinkies, Ghost White Ding Dongs, Scary Cakes Cupcakes and Spooky Twinkies. 

This article is an excerpt from the October 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Cake & Snack Cakes, click here.