General Mills, Grupo Bimbo and Hostess post dramatically different sales results

IRI releases bakery data, highlighting pies and cakes category growth

The latest IRI data shows there are big variations between bakery snack brands in terms of dollars sales growth. Pic: ©iStock/peshkov

BakeryandSnacks analyzes IRI’s multi-outlets with c-stores data regarding the bakery category for the 52 weeks ending December 25, 2016.

While most companies in the category have experienced negative or stagnant growth during the period, certain products, such as Vermont Bread Company’s English muffin and the cakes from Rich Prods, have seen a sales increase of over 100%.

Decreasing bagels segment

Comparing the overall category growth, bagels is the only segment that experienced a negative growth with a 2.9% dollar sales decrease, according to IRI. The segment’s total dollar sales are worth over $841m during the period.

However, Toufayan Bakery and Papa Pita Bakery’s bakery products grew 10.4% and 6.5% in terms of total dollar sales, dwarfing other brands in the segment, including Flowers Foods (which posted a 12.2% decrease) and Western Bagel Baking (14.6% decrease).

The IRI data does not include Bantam Bagels, the US bagel startup that recently secured its listing at Starbucks. However, in a previous report on this site, the former Shark Tank competitors-owned bakery reported it was in “extreme growth mode” with a rate of approximately 300% year-over-year.

Grupo Bimbo’s sluggish growth

IRI data shows that Grupo Bimbo still dominates the fresh bread, bagels, and English muffins segments in terms of dollar sales.

Grupo Bimbo’s fresh bread posted sales of over $2bn, a 2.7% increase year-over-year. Its bagels portfolio, which is worth around $571m, decreased 3.4% during the period. However, it's English muffins reported sales of around $613m, a 2.3% increase compared to the previous year.

The company’s US branch recently launched chocolate party cakes-flavored muffins under its Entenmann’s brand. Sales were posted at $289,868,539, making it the second largest after private label muffins in the US.

Bimbo's competitors, Hostess Brands and General Mills, though smaller in dollar sales also saw growth rates, of 11.8% and 3.3% respectively.

Variation between brands

While IRI data shows the overall bakery snacks category grew by 3.2% in terms of dollar sales during the period, national food giants posted remarkably different results.

The Little Debbie maker, McKee Foods, is currently the number one brand in the bakery snack category with total dollar sales of more than $800m. This is in line with the whole category's growth of 3.1% increase during the period.

Meanwhile, Hostess Brands’ bakery snacks posted a 6.9% growth, and Flowers Foods showed a 3.6% decrease shortly after it decided to sell its specialty blending business in order to focus on branded bakery foods.

General Mills experienced the lowest growth rate in the category with a 21.2% sales decrease. The company’s bakery snack products are worth almost $90m, far below both Hostess (more than $630m) and Flowers Foods (around $300m).

The Cheerios owner has closed facilities in recent years as part of its “zero-based budgeting” strategy, considered to be one of the most stringent cost-cutting measures that's becoming more prevalent in the food industry.

The industry has speculated General Mills is trying to make itself more financially desirable, and is likely to be acquired by Brazilian multibillion-dollar investment firm 3G Capital.

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