BFY brands shake up cookie category

One challenge facing the cookie category is growing consumer adoption of diets that are less than friendly toward traditional cookies, including the keto diet and others that have shoppers avoiding sugar.

To stay relevant with these consumers, brands are introducing cookies packed with a variety of health benefits — to great success. 

Reduced-sugar, low-calorie, low-cholesterol and high-protein claims are all increasing in unit and dollar sales, said Ms. Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, IRI. Emerging claims include sodium-free, heart healthy, potassium and made with prebiotics and antioxidants. 

“Cookie manufacturers are getting really smart around ‘What are the needs of consumers today?’ ” Ms. Lyons Wyatt said.  “ ‘What are those needs, and what can we do with our portfolios that are going to align with that?’ ”

Catalina Crunch, Wilmington, Del., offers 100% plant-based sandwich cookies made with pea protein and prebiotic fiber, providing 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of net carbs and just 1 gram of sugar per cookie. 

“Our cookies are perfect for folks who love sandwich cookies but don’t want all the sugar loaded in a typical sandwich cookie,” said Krishna Kaliannan, founder and CEO of Catalina Crunch. “Better-for-you (BFY) options are lining shelves, whether they are low or no sugar or cater to a different interest. Consumers are demanding it.” 

To meet this demand, Park City, Utah-based Kodiak Cakes entered the category earlier this year with its Thin and Crispy cookies. Available in Chocolate Chip Walnut and Oatmeal Raisin, the cookies are made with 100% whole grains and contain 5 grams of protein per serving. 

“We really tried to add just the right level of nutrients to feel a little bit better about that cookie while not sacrificing taste at all,” explained Brandon Porras, vice president of marketing for the company.  

Adding these nutrients is critical to creating a quality BFY cookie, noted Caroline Ponsi, sales director for Mmmly, New York. 

“In our category, you’ll find a lot of ‘free from’ brands: products that are taking out all the bad ingredients,” she said. “But where we create a…

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