For years, the biggest decision when choosing a pretzel was rod vs. rolled.
But thanks to a recent wave of innovation, pretzels are one of the hottest and most inventive categories in snacks — pulling in $1.7B in the year ending Aug. 7, up 16% YoY, per Food Dive.
What’s behind the pretzel renaissance?
Previously considered a “sleepy” category, pretzels are having a moment similar to craft beer and specialty coffee due to a combination of factors:
- A lack of innovation in the space led to an influx of upstarts introducing new, higher-margin options.
- The rise of online shopping made it possible for consumers to find new brands beyond the old staples dominating the snack aisle.
- Interest in health and wellness led consumers to choose pretzels over other snacks for their lower salt and sugar content.
The biggest players in the snack world are paying attention, and ponying up — last year Hershey’s bought Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels and Pretzels Inc. for a combined $1.2B.
Industry experts expect pretzel innovation to continue, with new brands continuing to push the boundaries of flavor and format.
- This could also lead to more acquisitions from industry incumbents looking to diversify their pretzel portfolio.
While new flavors are pushing the limits, nothing will beat the sheer bliss of devouring an Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar pretzel while roaming the corridors of your local mall.
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