In its latest bakery report, research company Mintel found that sales in the US cookie and biscuit market grew 14% during 2002-07. The market was worth $5.9bn in 2007.

Mintel found that 97% of individuals ate cookies in the US, with 79% penetration into households. Three in ten people said they ate cookies several times per week.

In the US, from 2004-06, sales of in-store bakery items grew by 5.5%, with cookies registering 8.5% growth, according to the research from Mintel.

Nearly half of respondents who ate cookies had bought fresh-baked cookies in the past month from in-store bakeries.

Sales of ’better-for-you’ cookies had grown steadily from 2002-07, gaining 20% at current value.

This was one of the category’s biggest success stories and included the 100-calorie pack, following healthy and low-carb eating trends. Mintel predicts that portion control will be an important trend in 2008.

Nearly half of respondents eating more cookies this year point to "a greater variety of healthier cookies to buy" reinforcing healthy indulgence as a market driver.

Standard cookies lead the market, representing 57.5% of total sales. However, they are clearly losing ground to more specialised cookies targeting niche consumers, as sales declined by 17% during 2002-07.