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Crackers - US - March 2011

Growth in the cracker market has slowed substantially since 2008, suffering from a fragile demand that is unlikely to endure any significant price increases. As the economy continues a slow, uncertain recovery, brands are under pressure to differentiate and fight off pricing pressure from private label. Marketers have turned to repackaging and healthy positioning as a source of premium, but efforts have yet to jump start sales.

In this exclusive report, Mintel reviews the trends and products that are driving sales growth and explores consumer attitudes that drive cracker consumption.

Analysis and insights offered include:

  • Which products are driving sales growth for the major brands
  • Which product claims are on the rise among new launches
  • Which distribution channels are increasing in importance
  • How brands are segmenting the market with advertising

Insights are supported by exclusive Mintel consumer research, which delves into topics such as:

  • Which demographics consume crackers most regularly
  • How consumption habits change with age
  • The percentage of the consumer base that shops for private label
  • The healthful product claims that are most important to consumers
  • The promotional techniques that are most effective in driving new product trial

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer data
              • Advertising clips
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Volume grows as price increases halt in 2010
                        • Saltines lose share to segments that offer standalone snacks
                          • Crackers more likely to be consumed regularly than most other snacks
                            • Supermarkets dominate cracker sales but warehouse clubs gain
                              • Kraft and Kellogg lose ground to Pepperidge Farm and smaller brands
                                • Premium healthful products and private label launches both on the increase
                                  • Brand marketing reflects age and income segmentation
                                    • Age determines likelihood of cracker consumption and usage habits
                                      • Brand differentiation easier for flavored crackers and products
                                        • Private label purchased by less than a third of respondents
                                          • Flavor is the strongest consideration during purchase
                                            • Half of cracker buyers look for healthful product claims
                                              • Family members, in-store samples, and coupons drive new product trial
                                              • Insights and Opportunities

                                                • Over-35s generally neglected in media advertising
                                                    • Figure 1: Population, by age, 2006-16
                                                  • Claims of natural ingredients need to be brought to life
                                                    • Whole grain product claim accompanied by confusion
                                                    • Inspire Insights

                                                        • Trend: Brand Review
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Weak demand and stagnant unit prices slow growth in 2010
                                                            • Sales and forecast of crackers
                                                              • Figure 2: Total U.S. retail sales of crackers, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                              • Figure 3: Total U.S. retail sales of crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2005-15
                                                            • Fan-chart forecast
                                                                • Figure 4: Fan-chart forecast for crackers, 2005-15
                                                              • Walmart sales
                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                • Volume grows in 2010 as prices are held steady
                                                                  • Figure 5: FDMx cracker dollar sales per pound, 2007-10
                                                                • Crackers increasingly positioned as a standalone snack
                                                                  • Brands base premium on claims of purity and natural ingredients
                                                                    • “Gluten free” products surge but not necessarily needed
                                                                    • Competitive Context

                                                                      • Crackers more likely to be consumed regularly than most other snacks
                                                                        • Figure 6: Who in household eats each type of salty snack, November 2010
                                                                      • Regular consumption separates crackers from other snack alternatives
                                                                        • Figure 7: Occasions when respondent personally eats each type of salty snack, November 2010
                                                                    • Segment Performance

                                                                      • Saltines lose share to segments that offer standalone snacks
                                                                        • Total U.S. retail sales of crackers, by segment
                                                                          • Figure 8: Total U.S. retail sales of crackers, by segment, 2008-10
                                                                      • Segment Performance—“All Other” Crackers

                                                                        • Premium launches unable to jumpstart the general cracker segment
                                                                          • Sales and forecast of other crackers
                                                                            • Figure 9: Total U.S. sales and forecast of other crackers, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                                        • Segment Performance—Saltine Crackers

                                                                          • Saltines suffer from volume decline and aggressive price promotions
                                                                            • Sales and forecast of saltine crackers
                                                                              • Figure 10: Total U.S. sales of saltine crackers, 2005-15
                                                                          • Segment Performance—Crackers with Fillings

                                                                            • Growth of crackers with fillings suggest movement toward standalone snacks
                                                                              • Sales and forecast of crackers with fillings
                                                                                • Figure 11: Total U.S. sales and forecast of crackers with fillings, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                                            • Segment Performance—Graham Crackers

                                                                              • Grahams post strongest volume growth during past two years
                                                                                • Sales and forecast of graham crackers
                                                                                  • Figure 12: Total U.S. sales and forecast of graham crackers, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                                              • Segment Performance—Breadsticks

                                                                                • Breadsticks stagnate due to lack of innovation and marketing
                                                                                  • Sales and forecast of bread sticks
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Total U.S. sales and forecast of bread sticks, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                                                • Segment Performance—Matzoh Crackers

                                                                                  • Matzoh crackers remain niche with little growth potential
                                                                                    • Sales and forecast of Matzoh crackers
                                                                                      • Figure 14: Total U.S. sales and forecast of Matzoh crackers, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                                                  • Retail Channels

                                                                                    • Supermarkets remain dominant channel but mass merchants gain ground
                                                                                      • Sales of crackers, by channel
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Total U.S. sales of crackers, by channel, 2008 and 2010
                                                                                    • Retail Channels—Supermarkets

                                                                                      • Private label sales help supermarkets but channel prices set to rise
                                                                                        • Supermarket/food stores’ sales of crackers
                                                                                          • Figure 16: Supermarket/food stores’ sales of crackers, at current prices, 2005-10
                                                                                      • Retail Channels—Supercenters and Warehouse Clubs

                                                                                        • Warehouse clubs drive share gain for the mass merchant channel
                                                                                          • Supercenters and warehouse clubs’ sales of crackers
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Supercenters and warehouse clubs’ sales of crackers, at current prices, 2005-10
                                                                                        • Retail Channels—Other Retailers

                                                                                          • Other retailers see decline as supermarkets show mild growth
                                                                                            • Other retailers’ sales of crackers
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Other retailers’ sales of crackers, at current prices, 2005-10
                                                                                          • Retail Channels—Natural Supermarkets

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Insight
                                                                                                • Sales of crackers in the natural channel
                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Natural supermarket sales of crackers, at current prices, 2008-10
                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Natural supermarket sales of crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2008-10
                                                                                                • Natural channel sales by segment
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Natural supermarket sales of crackers, by segment, 2008 and 2010
                                                                                                • Leading brands
                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Selected natural supermarket brand sales of crackers, 2008 and 2010
                                                                                                • Leading Companies

                                                                                                  • Kraft and Kellogg lose ground to Pepperidge Farm and smaller brands
                                                                                                    • FDMx sales of crackers by manufacturer
                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Manufacturer FDMx sales of crackers in the U.S., 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                  • Brand Share—“All Other” Crackers

                                                                                                    • New products from Nabisco move upscale and offer smaller packaging
                                                                                                      • Kellogg boosted by Townhouse Flatbread launch
                                                                                                        • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish posts highest growth of any major brand
                                                                                                          • Manufacturer and brand sales of “all other” crackers
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Selected FDMx brand sales of “all other” crackers, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                        • Brand Share—Crackers with Fillings

                                                                                                          • Kellogg rebounds from 2009 recall but underperforms over longer term
                                                                                                            • Kraft grows through launch of premium-positioned Crackerfuls
                                                                                                              • Manufacturer and brand sales of crackers with fillings
                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Selected FDMx brand sales of crackers with fillings, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                            • Brand Share—Saltine Crackers

                                                                                                              • Variety and low price help stem sales decline
                                                                                                                • Manufacturer and brand sales of saltine crackers
                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Selected FDMx brand sales of saltine crackers, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                              • Brand Share—Graham Crackers

                                                                                                                • Grahams boosted by Goldfish product extensions
                                                                                                                  • Manufacturer and brand sales of graham crackers
                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Selected FDMx brand sales of graham crackers, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                                • Brand Share—Breadsticks

                                                                                                                  • Breadsticks segment shows greatest private label share gain
                                                                                                                    • Manufacturer and brand sales of bread sticks
                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Selected FDMx brand sales of bread sticks, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                                  • Brand Share—Matzoh Crackers

                                                                                                                    • Matzoh segment sees biggest drop in unit prices
                                                                                                                      • Manufacturer and brand sales of Matzoh crackers
                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Selected FDMx brand sales of Matzoh crackers, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                                    • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                                      • “All natural” and “whole grain” surge in popularity in new product launches
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Top 15 claims on crackers product launches, 2006-10
                                                                                                                      • Private label grows share of new launches by six percentage points in five years
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Private label versus name brand crackers product launches, 2006-10
                                                                                                                      • Natural, organic, and gluten-free products launch at a premium
                                                                                                                        • Non-traditional ingredients reinforce natural positioning
                                                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Adspend for leading cracker brands, 2008-09
                                                                                                                          • Television advertising
                                                                                                                            • Nabisco (Kraft) subsegments under-35s with three distinct approaches
                                                                                                                              • Ritz
                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Ritz Cracker – Suburban Block Party, January 2011
                                                                                                                              • Wheat Thins
                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Wheat Thins Crunch Stix – Helicopter Rescue, September 2010
                                                                                                                              • Triscuit
                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Triscuit – Urban Rooftop, March 2010
                                                                                                                              • Flatbread products create upscale premium through flavor
                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Townhouse Flatbread Crisps – Pop-up Book, August 2010
                                                                                                                              • Cheez-It focuses on the authenticity of its cheese
                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Cheez-It – Cheese Inspection, July 2010
                                                                                                                              • Goldfish keeps the fun wholesome for family
                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Goldfish Grahams – Escape from Vacuum, August 2010
                                                                                                                              • Social media and online marketing
                                                                                                                                • Wheat Thins scours Twitter for deserving fans
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Wheat Thins – Surprise Twittervention, July 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Facebook represents a low-cost marketing tool for smaller brands
                                                                                                                                    • Cheez-It lets consumers participate in product design
                                                                                                                                    • Consumption Frequency and Occasions

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Over-45s more likely to consume crackers
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Regular consumption of crackers, by key demographics, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Respondents 18-24 most likely to consume crackers daily
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Frequency of personal cracker usage, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Weekly consumption less likely among lower-earning households
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Frequency of personal cracker usage, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • How and when consumers eat crackers
                                                                                                                                          • Standalone cracker consumption more likely among under-35s
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Snacking and eating preferences, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Cracker consumption habits change with age
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Occasions/activities when consumers eat crackers, by key demographics, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Types of Crackers That Consumers Favor

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Saltine crackers most likely consumed but marketers focus on flavor
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Types of crackers eaten, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Younger respondents less likely to eat saltines, wheat, and oyster/soup crackers
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Types of crackers eaten, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Consumption of flavored crackers increases with household income
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Types of crackers eaten, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Brand Usage

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Most cracker brands more likely to be consumed by under-55s
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Brands of snack crackers, saltines, & graham crackers eaten, by age, July 2009-SeptEMBER 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Certain brands find favorable positioning among higher-earners
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Brands of snack crackers, saltines, & graham crackers eaten, by household income, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Many major brands more likely to be consumed by black respondents
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Brands of snack crackers, saltines, & graham crackers eaten, by race/Hispanic origin, July 2009-September 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes Toward Brand Names

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Store brand penetration for crackers similar to other salty snacks
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Incidence of buying name brand or store brand for each type of salty snack, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Women more price sensitive but also brand loyal
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Drivers to brand/store brand cracker usage, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Senior respondents are more brand loyal and less likely to buy private label
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Drivers to brand/store brand cracker usage, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Private label most appealing to lowest income group
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Drivers to brand/store brand cracker usage, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Purchase Considerations

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Flavor most likely to drive purchase decision
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Drivers to cracker usage/purchases, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Under-45s more likely to try new or different products
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Drivers to cracker usage/purchases, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Health and Nutrition Product Claims

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Healthful product claims appeal to roughly half of cracker eaters
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Women more likely to consider health claims during purchase
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Older respondents look for low/no positioning; younger ones follow trendier health claims
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • What Drives Buyers to New Product Trial

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Family members, discounts, and sampling drive new trial most effectively
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Drivers that encourage trial of crackers new to a consumer, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Word-of-mouth referral is most effective among under-45s
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Drivers that encourage trial: Referral, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • In-store sampling more effective in convincing women
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Drivers that encourage trial: Promotion, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Effectiveness of magazine and Facebook ads is low even among under-35s
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Drivers that encourage trial: Advertising, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                              • Recipes and prepackaging appeal to respondents with children
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Drivers that encourage trial: Other, by presence of children, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                • Crack Pots
                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                        • Simplicitines
                                                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                • Flats
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Cracker clusters, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Snacking and eating preferences, by cracker clusters, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Types of crackers eaten, by cracker clusters, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Drivers that encourage trial of crackers new to a consumer, by cracker clusters, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, by cracker clusters, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 70: Cracker clusters, by gender, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Cracker clusters by age group, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Cracker clusters by household income, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 73: Cracker clusters by race, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 74: Cracker clusters by Hispanic origin, December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Drivers to brand/store brand usage
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Drivers to brand/store brand cracker usage, by cracker frequency groups, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Drivers to usage/purchases
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Drivers to cracker usage/purchases, by cracker frequency groups, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, by cracker frequency groups, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Drivers that encourage trial of crackers new to a consumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Drivers that encourage trial, by cracker frequency groups, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • SymphonyIRI/Builders—Key Household Purchase Measures

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Overview of crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • “All other” crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer insights on key purchase measures – “All other” crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Brand map, selected brands of “all other” crackers buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Key purchase measures for the top brands of “all other” crackers, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Saltine crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer insights on key purchase measures – saltine crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Brand map, selected brands of saltine crackers buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Key purchase measures for the top brands of saltine crackers, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Crackers with fillings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer insights on key purchase measures – crackers with fillings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Brand map, selected brands of crackers with fillings buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 84: Key purchase measures for the top brands of crackers with fillings, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Graham crackers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer insights on key purchase measures – crackers with fillings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Brand map, selected brands of graham crackers buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 86: Key purchase measures for the top brands of graham crackers, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gender
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 87: Drivers to cracker usage/purchases, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Age
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 88: Types of crackers eaten, regular vs. low salt/low sodium, by age, July 2009-September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Household income
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 89: Snacking and eating preferences, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 90: Health and nutrition drivers among cracker buyers, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Albertsons Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aron Streit Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • B. Manischewitz Company LLC, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Food Marketing Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kellogg Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lance Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pepperidge Farm Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Retail Confectioners International
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Safeway Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Snack Food Association (SFA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crackers - US - March 2011

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