KANSAS CITY — With all the chatter about better for you and how consumers are seeking health and wellness, let’s look at the donut category for a change of pace. Circana reported that sales of packaged donuts sold in the center store rose 10.8% to $1.3 billion while units fell a modest 3.9% for the 52-week period ended May 28. Donuts sold in the perimeter of the store rose 18% to $1.2 billion while units slipped 0.6% during that same period.

In fact, Jonna Parker, principal II/team lead, fresh foods at Circana, said whenever she talks to audiences about the growth of fresh products in the perimeter of the store, it’s about donuts.

“Perimeter donuts is one of the fastest-growing categories in the entire store,” she said during a recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) webinar. “Now we do have to recognize that this is a category that had a slower ability to get back to full assortment throughout the last three years. But it has the ability to offer people just one (donut) or something to have out at a party or a brunch or a breakfast.”

Despite higher prices, which account for the huge jump in dollar sales, unit sales remain resilient because of product variety, indulgence, more premium offerings and consumers wanting to reward themselves with an affordable treat. However, Ms. Parker urged retailers to search for creative ways to make donuts special so to drive sales.

“Donuts are a category that if we don’t continue to try to innovate and give the shopper something new, it’s going to be extremely hard to lap this next year,” she said.