Consumers’ Cookie Craze Picks Up the Pace

brown bread with green and red vegetable on top

The holidays are upon us, and whether it’s decorating sugar cookies or baking a fresh batch of chocolate chip for Santa, many consumers will be feasting upon cookies of some variation.

As we approach a new year, research suggests cookies have never been more popular. According to the latest trends report by Barry Callebaut, Cookies Crazed, cookie sales have increased over 9% from 2022. The report also found that nearly one in four consumers say that they’re eating more cookies than one year ago.

The top reasons consumers indicated for their uptick in cookie consumption included treating themselves, baking more often, and needing more comfort.

Keys to Cookies’ Popularity

Nostalgia and fond memories have kept cookies popular, according to Meghann Smith, founder of Batch & Box. Jason Phillips, chef and contributing editor for Also The Crumbs, Please, added that the treats remain popular because of their portability and versatility.

“You can add practically anything to cookies from nuts, sugar, garnishes, or filling. They … make a great culinary learning tool,” Phillips told The Food Institute.

Cookies have endured as a beloved treat mainly due to their versatility, said Allyson Brigham, MS, RDN, and founder of The Sweetitian. They can be easily adapted to various flavors and dietary needs, she noted.

Cookies stand the test of time by bringing joy through their simple yet delicious nature, making them a timeless treat, added Scott Coombs, owner of Chip Cookies Plano.

Why the Recent Uptick?  

It certainly seems like people are indulging in more cookies this year, Coombs noted.

One key factor appears to be the stress of inflation.

“Cookies remain popular in times of inflation because they’re a comfort food and people crave comfort in times of crises,” Phillips said.

“In times of increased stress and shifting routines, like in recent years, many seek out comfort foods, and cookies perfectly fit that bill,” Brigham added.

The Latest Cookie Trends

Phillips feels that, during this holiday season, we can expect an uptick in ginger, peanut butter, sugar, and cinnamon-based cookies because they’re flavors that “taste like Christmas.”

Brigham foresees a rise in artisanal and specialty cookies with unique flavors and high-quality ingredients taking center stage. She also believes health-conscious options will gain traction.

Cookie flavor combinations such as cranberry, orange, and rosemary or chocolate orange also appear to be gaining momentum.

“There’s an international love for cookies, and I think we can expect to see different flavors to satisfy different flavor palates,” Smith said.

Flavors to Watch in 2024

“I’m particularly excited about the growing popularity of macaron cookies in unconventional and adventurous flavors,” Brigham said. “Their delicate texture, combined with bold, innovative flavor profiles, could really take the cookie scene by storm in 2024.”

Phillips, meanwhile, is excited to see how Subway’s new footlong cookie performs in the months ahead. The chef added, however, that baking trends are leaning toward healthier options like vegan cookies or treats that feature fruit as a garnish.

Smith, conversely, expects to see more unique cookie combinations in the new year.

“We’re excited to see more Asian-fusion flavors in 2024,” she said, “like ube and taro, matcha and white chocolate, or yuzu shortbread cookies.”