Frozen Bakery Products, Except Bread

SIC 2053

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry comprises establishments primarily involved in manufacturing frozen bakery products other than bread and bread-type rolls. Products include frozen cakes, croissants, doughnuts, pies, and sweet yeast goods. Manufacturers of frozen bread and bread-type rolls are classified in SIC 2051: Bread, and Other Bakery Products. Except Cookies and Crackers.

The 179 establishments in the $3.6 billion miscellaneous frozen bakery products employed 12,700 workers. Although approximately 80 percent of companies had 100 or fewer employees, the 20 percent of the companies that employed more than 100 people claimed 86 percent of the employees and 95 percent of industry revenues. The top two companies alone, which had a combined 2,400 employees and $2.47 billion in sales, accounted for 19 percent of employees and 69 percent of revenues. New York led in terms of revenues earned, with $2.48 billion in sales, followed at a distance by New Jersey with $658 million and Texas with $90 million.

In the late 2000s and into the early 2010s, the frozen pie category was battling conflicting trends, serving as an industry benchmark. U.S. consumers, hurt by a poor economy, were eating in more, thus looking for the convenience and comfort of the frozen pie section. On the other hand, they were also watching their budgets and their diets, which kept many of them walking right on by the frozen food aisle.

Frozen pies come in eight or nine inch sizes in either bake-and-serve or thaw-and-serve varieties. Top frozen pie flavors were apple and pumpkin. To appeal to the health-conscious consumer, companies began to offer low-fat pies. In the late 2000s, the top three vendors in the frozen pie market were Schwan Food Co., with an estimated 50 percent market share; Sara Lee Corp., with about 23 percent; and American Pie Co. at around 19 percent. Frozen pies were valued at $335 million, frozen dessert cakes at $128 million, and cheesecakes at $98 million.

Frozen cookie dough jumped in popularity in the early 2000s, due in large part to the introduction of Mrs. Fields frozen cookie dough, and continued to benefit from new product introductions. Otis Spunkmeyer was the top brand of gourmet frozen cookie dough in 2009.

Breakfast foods were also popular in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The late 1990s saw the beginnings of a breakfast foods war among manufacturers of frozen and fresh products. Kellogg's added more flavors of waffles, while Pillsbury introduced Toaster Scrambles in three varieties (cheese and egg; cheese, egg, and bacon; and cheese, egg, and ham). Sara Lee redirected its marketing efforts to its new fresh division in an attempt to tap into the $300 million supermarket bagel business. New product launches continued into the early 2000s as Kellogg's began pushing its healthier breakfast options, such as Eggo Nutri-Grain Waffles, which saw sales increase by 27.2 percent in 2003. The firm also launched Eggo French Toaster Sticks, its first French toast product, in the early 2000s, hoping to gain access to the rapidly growing French toast stick sector that grew by 32 percent in 2003.

According to Foodservice Research Institute (FSRIN) survey data, nearly 50 percent of all breakfast food and beverage items were considered portable by the mid-2000s. Frozen breakfast foods had become a $1 billion industry sector by 2004. Frozen waffles, long the favorite of this sector, accounted for $481.3 million in sales from April 2004 to April 2005, but, unlike previous years, waffles failed to produce over half of frozen breakfast food sales. The combination of frozen breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and French toast reached $513.6 million in the April 2004 to April 2005 period, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. By 2008, total frozen breakfast food sales were up to $1.3 billion, according to The Food Institute Report. Tim Smith of Jimmy Dean (a Sara Lee subsidiary) attributed the increase in frozen breakfast food sales in part to consumers' growing interest in foods containing protein, a trend that was expected to continue into the 2010s.

In 2009, the frozen breakfast food industry grew to $1.4 billion. According to a report by Information Resources, certain segments of the industry saw particular growth. For example, in fiscal 2009, sales of frozen bagels increased by over 42 percent. The smaller segment of frozen muffins ($26 million) nonetheless experienced an increase in revenues of 62 percent over the same period. Meanwhile, frozen breakfast entrees and waffles grew by 4.6 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

One of the first companies to offer frozen bakery products to the American marketplace was Sara Lee, founded in 1949 by Charles Lubin. The company originally offered a line of premium, fresh-baked products and made shipments within a 200-mile radius of its Chicago location. In 1953, to accommodate the needs of long-distance clients, the company pioneered freezing methods, and nine years later made the decision to switch its production exclusively to frozen products. Sara Lee Corp. had sales of $12.88 billion in 2009 and 41,000 employees worldwide. Kellogg Co., with Mrs. Smith's and Eggo products as market leaders in their categories, employed 31,000 and had overall sales surpassing $12.58 billion in 2009. Privately-owned Schwan Food Co. produced the popular Edwards line of frozen pies and cheesecakes; Schwan had revenues of $3.53 million in 2009. American Pie Company of Syosset, New York, sold the second largest money-maker, the Marie Callender brand.

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