While unit sales of cookies have fallen year-to-date, the online channel is a different story, with packaged cookie unit sales growing 6% and dollar sales jumping 16%, according to IRI. 

This growth reflects the overall emergence of online grocery shopping, with IRI predicting e-commerce will make up at least a third of total grocery industry sales by the end of 2023. 

This is a huge opportunity for emerging cookie brands, many of which are already making a name for themselves in the online space. 

Luxury cookie brand Last Crumb, for example, uses an online drop model, releasing its cookies to consumers who join the brand’s exclusive list. The direct-to-consumer strategy centered on luxury and exclusivity is working — the brand sells out of its cookies in less than a minute every week. 

Last Crumb is also winning in the ever-important world of social media with its daring content, amassing more than 100,000 followers on both TikTok and Instagram. In one of its most viewed TikToks, a Last Crumb ice cream sandwich is rolled in shards of broken glass before viewers are told to “eat glass.” 

“We are always looking to create unexpected, buzz-worthy moments for consumers that align with the long-term vision for the brand,” said Alana Arnold, the company’s co-founder and director of operations.  

While Last Crumb has grown rapidly with its unique direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, other brands are employing a more varied strategy.

Catalina Crunch, Wilmington, Del.; Renewal Mill, San Francisco; Mmmly, New York; and Simple Mills, Chicago, are available on online platforms like Fresh Direct, Thrive Market and Amazon, for example in addition to brick-and-mortar stores and through DTC. These brands have established a presence on Instagram and TikTok as well. 

Katlin Smith, founder and CEO of Simple Mills, said it’s critical to meet consumers where they are, which is more online than ever. 

“E-commerce has been a big platform over the last few years in terms of where consumers shop as technology not only advances, but one-stop shopping continues to grow,” Ms. Smith said.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Cookies, click here.