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US Crackers market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Crackers market, its consumers and the major players who make up the market.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

  • What are the key challenges facing the industry?
  • Who is the consumer and what do they want?
  • Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Market

Point of sale market data

In conjunction with IRi, extensive point of sale data shows you what consumers are spending their money on

Market Size

How big is the market today and what is our 5 year forecast? Includes both best & worst case scenarios

Market Segmentation

What are the different segments within the market and how are those individual segments performing?

Consumer

Consumer behaviors

What are consumers looking for, what drives their buying habits and what are their main purchase influencers?

Demographic breakdown

From iGen & Millennials to Baby Boomers & beyond. Who is spending money and what are they spending it on?

Representative sample

We gather our data from real-world consumers, selected to accurately reflect precise global demographics

Players

Company strategy

What are the key players doing, what has been successful for them and what was their marketing spend?

Product innovation

Using data from our Global New Product Database, what products were launched and how well were they perceived?

Opportunities

What happens next, which areas are likely to experience growth and what opportunities exist within the market?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has divided the cracker category into four segments.

  • Crackers with fillings
  • Graham crackers
  • Saltine crackers
  • “Other” crackers (including butter crackers, cheese crackers, wheat crackers, water crackers, breadsticks, matzoh crackers, etc.)

Key points included

  • Sales of crackers are stale
  • Kids outpace adult cracker consumption
  • Snack space reaches new levels of competition

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Michael Averbook, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Cracker sales have remained relatively flat hovering near $7.7 billion since 2016. While the category’s versatility and consumer interest in snacking have helped maintain nearly universal penetration, intensified snacking competition has stolen some share of occasions from brands in the category, especially with adult consumers. Michael Averbook
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Sales of crackers are stale
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
          • Snack space reaches new levels of competition
            • Figure 2: Total retail sales of select snack categories, percent change, 2016-18*
          • Kids outpace adult cracker consumption
            • Figure 3: Cracker consumption frequency – Children and adults, November 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Help consumers shake up the routine
              • Figure 4: Cracker behaviors, November 2018
            • Get detailed in targeted occasions
              • Figure 5: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Snack occasions, by adults, November 2018
            • Don’t forget the grown-ups
              • Figure 6: Drivers for cracker trial – Any crackers, by parental status, November 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Cracker sales remains mostly unchanged
                • “Other” crackers only segment to grow
                  • Intensified snacking competition
                    • Brands need to shift some focus to adult tastes
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Despite snack growth, sales of crackers remain stagnant
                        • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
                        • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • “Other” cracker innovation scores sole category gains
                        • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers, by segment, at current prices, 2013-23
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Snack space is getting crowded
                        • Figure 10: Total retail sales of select snack categories, percent change, 2016-18*
                    • Market Factors

                      • Super and average snacker groups gain “new members”
                        • Figure 11: Snacking frequency, January 2015 and November 2018
                      • Consumers seek a mix of health and taste
                        • Figure 12: Snack attitudes – Health, November 2018
                      • Households with children shrinking
                        • Figure 13: Households, by presence of own children, 2008-18
                      • Adultified snacks may appeal to shifting consumer makeup
                        • Figure 14: Population by age, 2013-23
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Three companies dominate the category
                        • Store brands get back to growth
                          • Nabisco brands embrace versatility from all angles
                            • Small brands can’t compete on value
                              • Crackers for grown-ups
                              • Company and Brand Sales of Crackers

                                • Crackers category remains top heavy
                                    • Figure 15: Multi-outlet sales of crackers, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Leader board brands get more chip-like
                                    • Figure 16: Ritz Crackers TV Advertisement – “When Game Day Gets Intense”
                                    • Figure 17: Multi-outlet sales of crackers, by select growing brands – Ritz, Cheez-It, and Goldfish, rolling 52 weeks 2018
                                  • Triscuit reaches for on-the-go snackers
                                    • Figure 18: Triscuit TV Advertisement – “Toppingless ALT”
                                  • Private labels gets creative
                                    • Figure 19: Attribute scores of crackers – Tasty, good value, and exciting, by name brands and store brands, January 2017-December 2018
                                    • Figure 20: Purchase intent of crackers, by select private label products launched in 2018
                                • What’s Struggling?

                                  • Small brands struggling to break big brand allegiance
                                    • Figure 21: Multi-outlet sales of other crackers, by declining segments, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                    • Figure 22: Multi-outlet sales of crackers, by select “other” brands, rolling 52 weeks 2018
                                  • Kellogg’s cracker portfolio may need a refresh
                                    • Figure 23: Keebler and Carr’s Online Video: “Win the Holidays with Keebler & Carr’s Crackers!”
                                    • Figure 24: Multi-outlet sales of crackers, by Kellogg brands – Keebler and Austin, rolling 52 weeks 2018
                                • What’s Next?

                                  • “Adultification” of crackers
                                    • Going Vegan
                                      • Figure 25: Launches of crackers, by vegan/no animal ingredients, 2016 and 2018
                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                    • Widespread cracker consumption
                                      • Crackers are a family affair
                                        • Crackers are not top of mind for adult snacks
                                          • Consumers need help shaking up the routine
                                            • Crackers could use a cool boost
                                              • Innovation that leans toward grown-ups
                                              • Household Cracker Consumption

                                                • Crackers a pantry staple
                                                  • Figure 26: Cracker consumption, November 2018
                                                  • Figure 27: Repertoire of cracker consumption, November 2018
                                                • Children a gateway to household cracker consumption
                                                  • Figure 28: Cracker household consumption frequency – Adults aged 18, November 2018
                                                  • Figure 29: Repertoire of cracker consumption – 3 or more cracker types, November 2018
                                                • Cracker consumption shifts with age
                                                  • Figure 30: Cracker consumption frequency – Children and adults, November 2018
                                              • Snack Occasions

                                                • Cracker occasions look different for adults and kids
                                                  • Figure 31: Snack occasions, by adults, November 2018
                                                  • Figure 32: Snack occasions, by kids, November 2018
                                                • Afternoon, evening occasions have room with adults
                                                  • Figure 33: Snack occasions – Crackers as an afternoon snack and as an evening snack, by adults and kids, November 2018
                                                • Mealtime disruption can benefit crackers
                                                  • Figure 34: Snack occasions – Crackers, meals, by adults, by age, November 2018
                                              • Cracker Comparisons

                                                • Crackers lack strong snack identity
                                                  • Figure 35: Cracker comparisons to salty snacks, November 2018
                                                • iGens, Millennials need more excitement from crackers
                                                  • Figure 36: Cracker comparisons to salty snacks – Bland and boring, by age, November 2018
                                              • Cracker Behaviors

                                                • Consumers need help shaking up the routine
                                                  • Figure 37: Cracker behaviors, November 2018
                                                • Parents hungry to branch out beyond their kids’ crackers
                                                  • Figure 38: Cracker behaviors – Eat the same crackers my kids eat, November 2018
                                                • Non-parents can use an invitation to the party
                                                  • Figure 39: Cracker behaviors, by parental status by gender, November 2018
                                              • Cracker Attitudes

                                                • Packaging remains an important factor
                                                  • Figure 40: Cracker attitudes – Resealable packaging, November 2018
                                                • There’s space in the pantry for both plain and flavored crackers
                                                  • Figure 41: Cracker attitudes – Resealable, flavored, plain, and store brand crackers, November 2018
                                                • BFY claims are a nice to have
                                                  • Figure 42: Cracker attitudes – Organic, alternative-based crackers, and free-from claims, November 2018
                                                • Resealable packaging signals fresh for older consumers
                                                  • Figure 43: Cracker attitudes – Resealable packaging, by age, November 2018
                                                • Added flavor matters more to parents
                                                  • Figure 44: Cracker attitudes – Flavored and plain, by parental status, November 2018
                                              • Drivers for Cracker Trial

                                                • Adults hungry for convenience and creative innovation too
                                                  • Figure 45: Drivers for cracker trial – Any crackers, November 2018
                                                • Parents are family first, but craving more for themselves
                                                  • Figure 46: Drivers for cracker trial – Any crackers, by parental status, November 2018
                                                • Households of all sizes appreciate a single-serve pack
                                                  • Figure 47: Drivers for cracker trial – Any crackers – Single-serve packaging, by household size, November 2018
                                              • Food and Drink Shopper Segmentation

                                                    • Figure 48: Cluster analysis of crackers, November 2018
                                                  • Karen: Convince me
                                                    • Figure 49: Profile of Karen: Convince me, November 2018
                                                  • Opportunities
                                                    • Figure 50: Drivers for cracker trial – Any crackers, by food and drink shopper segmentation, November 2018
                                                  • Alyssa: I’ll take it
                                                    • Figure 51: Profile of Alyssa: I’ll take it, November 2018
                                                  • Opportunities
                                                    • Figure 52: Repertoire of cracker consumption, November 2018
                                                  • Tammy: Traditional and tired
                                                    • Figure 53: Profile of Tammy: Traditional and tired, November 2018
                                                  • Opportunities
                                                    • Figure 54: Cracker behaviors, by food and drink shopper segmentation, November 2018
                                                  • David: Driven by value
                                                    • Figure 55: Profile of David: Driven by value, November 2018
                                                  • Opportunities
                                                    • Figure 56: Cracker attitudes, by food and drink shopper segmentation, November 2018
                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                  • Data sources
                                                    • Sales data
                                                      • Fan chart forecast
                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                  • Figure 57: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 58: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers, by segment, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 59: Total US retail sales of crackers, by segment, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 60: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers with fillings, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 61: Total US retail sales and forecast of crackers with fillings, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 62: Total US retail sales and forecast of graham crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 63: Total US retail sales and forecast of graham crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 64: Total US retail sales and forecast of saltine crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 65: Total US retail sales and forecast of saltine crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 66: Total US retail sales and forecast of all other crackers, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 67: Total US retail sales and forecast of all other crackers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 68: Total US retail sales of crackers, by channel, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                  • Figure 69: Total US retail sales of crackers, by channel, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 70: US supermarket sales of crackers, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                  • Figure 71: US drugstore sales of crackers, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                  • Figure 72: US sales of crackers through other retail channels, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                              • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                  • Figure 73: Multi-outlet sales of crackers with fillings, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 74: Multi-outlet sales of graham crackers, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 75: Multi-outlet sales of saltine crackers, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 76: Multi-outlet sales of all other crackers, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018