Hostess, Little Debbie and Entenmann’s dominate US snacks

Hostess, Little Debbie and Entenmann’s account for 65.2% of retail sales of snacks (baked goods) in the United States, according to Nielsen.

Meanwhile, the rest of the category remains quite fragmented.

With limited private label penetration in the category, consumers have shown a strong preference for trusted brands within the snack category.

From Hostess’s point of view, leadership positions are consolidated through extensive product portfolios, strong brand awareness, established distribution capabilities, and long-standing relationships with high-volume critical retailers.

Additionally, high levels of capital investment are required to establish significant scale manufacturing and distribution capabilities, providing additional barriers to entry.

Among Hostess products, Voortman has the # 1 cream wafer and sugar-free cookie products in the largest cookie category.


Nabisco is the leading brand with about 44% of the category, according to Nielsen.

There is a higher penetration of private labels in the cookie category than in the snack category.

In general, companies face strong competition from other brands, large national bakeries, smaller regional operators, and supermarket chains with their own private labels.

Key competitive factors in the industry include product quality, price, customer service, brand recognition and loyalty, promotional activities, access to point of sale, sufficient shelf space, and ability to identify and satisfy consumer preferences.

Some of the biggest national competitors of those three companies include Flowers Foods, Grupo Bimbo, McKee Foods Corporation, and Mondelez International.

Sometimes companies experience price pressure in certain markets due to competitive promotions and other pricing practices.