The Growth of indulgence

With inflation and the cost of living crisis prevalent, you may assume that the indulgence trend has died out, when in fact it’s growing. This affects the food to go sector, particularly in typical ‘treat’ categories such as cookies, snacks, cakes, and desserts.

Indulgence can be categorised in a number of ways, ranging from ‘classic’ and experiential to affordable and healthy. We explore what each means for sweet bakery…

Classic indulgence

Classic indulgence can be described as a conscious decision to treat yourself and to be knowingly ‘naughty’ as a moment of self-indulgence, often offset by being ‘good’ earlier in the day. Indulgence remains the most important purchase trigger for cake and cookie purchases, outweighing health and diet considerations. This includes all sweet treats full of flavour and pleasure such as a double chocolate muffin or a rocky road.

Experiential indulgence

Experiential indulgence is all about having a treat in the moment, often as a celebration or off the back of a particular trend or feeling. Consumers look to experiment with products that have luxurious flavours, contrasting textures and distinctive features or packaging. Oreo, for instance, released limited edition Trolls cookies that use glitter and popping candy, and many bakeries (including Queensland) are trialling stuffed cookies and brookies (a brownie-cookie combination).

Affordable indulgence

Affordable indulgence is defined as treating ourselves without breaking the bank; keeping an eye on our budgets yet allowing a purchase to bring satisfaction or comfort. Even though inflation is high, baked treats like cookies, cakes and tarts remain a priority for consumers and we are creating room in our budgets for these types of purchases. Shopper behaviour for this trend encompasses shoppers trading down to a more affordable indulgent treat option, being selective with how they prioritise buying in the certain categories, for example splurging on a treat while cutting back on luxury skincare, or limiting or downsizing on portion or pack sizes.

Healthy indulgence

Healthy indulgence is enjoying a treat with all the desired tastes and flavours, without the guilt of eating something ‘bad’ for you and it’s a trend that was growing the fastest, even pre-pandemic. It has increased further with 56% of consumers switching to healthier snack alternatives. This includes categories such as breakfast bars, and any product that delivers portion control or desirable and premium flavours without high level sugar and fats, or with positive health benefits. 

It’s clear indulgence in treats is here to stay and food to go businesses can take advantage of this through their new product development. Consider aligning products to the different indulgent trends with smaller pack sizes, indulgent treats that offer value for money and trade promotions on indulgent products to enhance the shopper experience and drive impulse purchases.

If you’d like to explore how you can enhance your impulse sweet bakery offering, please get in touch with us at or call us on 023 8026 9926.