Cookie and Cracker Manufacturers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 335 cookie and cracker manufacturers in the US produce crackers and biscuits, cookies, wafers, and ice cream cones. The industry is comprised of independent manufacturers that produce and sell their own brands, and contract manufacturers that produce and package products for customers under the customer’s brand(s).

Changing Consumer Diets

Demand for cookies and crackers can change with consumer diets and fads.

Food Safety Regulations

Like other food production operations, cookie and cracker manufacturers are subject to regulations regarding food handling, storage, contamination, allergens and package labeling.

Industry size & Structure
Industry Forecast
Cookie and Cracker Manufacturers Industry Growth
Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

Recent Developments

May 20, 2024 - Prices, Employment & Wages All Rising
  • The producer price index for cookie and cracker manufacturers, which measures prices before reaching consumers, rose 2% in March compared to a year ago after rising 2.9% in the previous annual comparison, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Employment by the industry grew 2.4% in March year over year, while average wages at bakeries and tortilla manufacturers climbed 5.8% over the same period to $21.77 per hour, BLS data shows. Consumer prices for cookies have been relatively flat, rising just 0.1% between March 2023 and March 2024, according to the BLS.
  • Labor and other costs are driving how bakeries plan to invest this year, according to Baking & Snack’s 2024 Capital Spending Study. Bakers are focused on reducing reliance on labor and improving efficiencies to lower costs. “When asked what their biggest challenges were for the next 12 to 18 months, 73% of bakers said attracting and retaining a quality workforce,” said Kerwin Brown, president of Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds, which sponsored the study. The next top three concerns were labor costs, increased raw material costs, and inflationary pressures, all of which impact profitability. More than half of respondents (58%) reported that their companies would increase capital spending due to a lack of labor, followed by 52%, who said rising raw material costs would drive capital spending. Investments in facility expansions and new buildings are down compared to 2023, with most companies intending to use capital spending dollars on systems improvements (84%).
  • Cracker sales are benefitting from the rise in popularity of charcuterie boards, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery reports. Cracker manufacturers are capitalizing on the trend by getting creative with flavors and formats, even adding cannabis to their recipes, according to SF&WB. Over the 52 weeks ending January 28, the crackers category increased by 7.1% from the same period last year, with $9.9 billion in overall sales, according to data from market research firm Circana. However, volume sales fell 4% over the same period, so the rise in cracker sales was due primarily to inflation. Broken out by subcategory: AO (all other) crackers rang up $7.1 billion of the total sales, an increase of 6.1%; crackers with fillings brought in $1.47 billion, a 13.9% uptick in sales; and saltine crackers posted sales of $651.7 million, up 8.7%.
  • The commercial baking industry is facing a workforce shortage that’s projected to lead to a deficit of as many as 53,500 jobs by 2030, according to the American Bakers Association (ABA). As in the broader manufacturing sector, commercial bakeries are struggling to hire and retain skilled workers and face a wave of retirements as the workforce ages. According to the ABA report, demand for skilled workers in commercial baking will be concentrated in production, engineering and equipment maintenance, and shipping and distribution. By region, the 2030 projected commercial baking shortage is expected to be most severe in the Midwest (13,400 unfilled jobs), South (12,900 unfilled jobs), and West (short 10,300 jobs). Commenting on projected workforce deficits, ABA CEO Eric Dell said, "The data speaks for itself and is a chasm that threatens the very foundation of our industry and requires immediate and collective action."
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