What’s New in the Cookie World?


Dheeraj Talreja, President-India, AAK Group

Cookies and biscuits have been loved by generations’ world-over. The convenience and hassle-free traits of these items have played the role of a catalyst in establishing them as perfect snacks, munchies, and breakfast options. In 2020, the global market of biscuits and cookies stood at $ 51 billion. Specifically, in India, it was estimated to be $ 5.28 billion. Out of this, the sole Indian market share of cookies was around 25%. These figures are proof of the love people have for their quick, crunchy and delicious cookies.

However, this industry has undergone dramatic changes. Modern-day consumers, being the drivers of this transformation, are no longer simply chasing taste. They are looking for healthy indulgences that offer them the best of both worlds – health and deliciousness. Customers have become watchful of every bite they take and want to know about all the ingredients used in producing the commodity. Further, they are no longer satisfied by the jaded flavours of yesterday and are continuously looking for newer variants. These changing preferences have urged the cookie industry to think out-of-the-box and become vigilant about each step entailed in its production process.

Here are some trends that are ruling over the cookie industry

Innovative techniques: Cookies are no longer slabs of crunch that are slightly differentiated from biscuits. Today, there is a plethora of baking procedures leading to enticing variants like centre-filled cookies. The focus has shifted to using techniques and ingredients that reduce the trans-fat levels. After all, it is seen as an unhealthy evil by consumers across the board. Several companies have introduced bakery shortening solutions that maintain the trans-fat levels under 1%, reduce mixing time, boost the creaming abilities, and result in light crispy cookies. Further, efforts are made to increase the shelf-life of cookies for easy and long-term storage without losing an iota of their tastefulness.

Exotic ingredients: Buyers are no longer interested in simply salted, sweet or butter cookies. They want fresh flavours, new textures and luxurious combinations. The industry is rapidly incorporating exotic fruits and nuts to match their expectations. Hazelnuts, figs, berries, banana, peaches, cashews, almonds and raisins are some ingredients that are receiving a warm welcome in the cookie segment by both – the consumers and producers. Since fruits and nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals, they are appreciated by the wide-ranging set of wellness-oriented customers. The cookie market is also witnessing delectable inclusions of sweet and savoury elements. For instance, sandwich cookies with butter and black pepper blended in the cream or varieties with fiery-barbecue flavour oozing from their cream filling.

More cookies, less guilty: The virus outbreak has turned the attention of many towards fitness. People are walking away from unhealthy snacks and adding nutritious items to their carts. To meet this preference change, the cookie industry has brought an array of innovative alternatives. The market is flooded with cookies that are digestive or made using chia and quinoa. Sweet potato and rice cookies that do not have any added flavouring are becoming popular. Further, ingredients like carrot (good for eyes and heart), seaweed (known to maintain liver health), and black sesame (for proper kidney health) are also being introduced. Honey, coconut and dark chocolate, on the other hand, are seen as good replacements for processed sugar, making cookies appealing for the sweet-conscious buyers.

Nothing is permanent, especially consumers’ preferences. It is a fact that the cookie industry is yet to see numerous evolutions and innovations. However, with the biscuit sector noting a doubled growth rate in the pandemic year as compared to the pre-Covid year, the future for this sub-category seems bright.