28 Dec 2023
Patisserie, chocolate and bakery are the perfect categories to respond to seasonal themes with, because of the flexibility in combinations and presentations. Last Halloween showcased some amazing product releases to celebrate the scariest time of the year. We collected 5 of the most amazing products, so cool they will give you the shivers (and inspiration for your 2024 pastry creations).
Home baking is very popular around Halloween. The autumn season sparks nostalgia, which makes people crave the joy of grabbing a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven. That’s probably why the ready-to-bake Pillsbury Shape Sugar Cookies were sold out everywhere. The cookies with a colorful ghost or pumpkin design took no more effort than slicing and baking. For consumers, minimum effort, maximum results!
But one of the coolest Halloween homebaking product release was the thrilling Cupcake Mix introduced by Dr Oetker. The vanilla flavor icing came with an ultraviolet torch, to make them light up in the dark. Consumers could create their own scary glow in the dark designs. Of course, these eye-catching designs made the rounds on social media, where people showed off their shivering cupcakes.
Get inspired: consumers love easy options to create their own Halloween snacks at home. Why not consider offering them DYI bundles? Whether that is a haunted gingerbread house with cookies and frosting you make in your bakery, or a package with all the necessary ingredients for a creepy cake. For large scale producers in particular, the glow-in-the-dark icing has virtually endless possibilities. Not only in home-baking kits, but also in cakes, cookies and product packaging. Be sure to encourage your customers to share the product online, as this is a trend that is meant to be seen!
Some of the most popular online recipes around Halloween are ‘mummy’ variations on, well… pretty much everything. In 2022 the search term ‘mummy hot dogs’ increased by more than 5,000% around the holiday. In 2023, searches for ‘mummy cake pops’ and ‘mummy hot dogs’ grew by 500% and 250%. TOUS les JOURS was smart enough to include a Mummy Cake in its ‘Happy Halloween’ collection. A sweet chocolate cake, topped with ganache and chocolate buttercream in a spooky mummy design.
The well-known French-Asian bakery café chain, famous for its great artisan patisserie, cakes, and daily-baked desserts released eight different items to get into the spirit of the spooky season during the dark October days leading up to Halloween. Besides the Mummy cake, the collection included Monster cakes and a cloud cake with Halloween toppers.
Get inspired: consumers buy products they recognize, so it’s smart to tap into trending online foods. For your 2024 offering, we would tip ‘spooky cinnamon rolls’ for bakeries. This was a top trending recipe online. Think of cinnamon rolls that look like ‘zombie guts’ or simply cinnamon rolls in an orange, black and white Halloween colorway. Another new online trend was the ‘pretzel spider web’, which ranked fourth in trending Halloween recipe searches.
Plant-based consumers of all ages with a sweet tooth eagerly seek out vegan-friendly Halloween treats to satisfy their seasonal cravings and bakery Vegan Treats ensured that the spooky festivities remain plant-based, cruelty-free and delicious. They introduced a 2023 edition of the brand's Best Fiends Chocolate Box, as well as gingerbrdead men (and cats). The Halloween box contained 13 pieces of chocolate, including everything from espresso caramel headstones to peanut butter cats and hazelnut praline crunch spiderweb clouds. The gingerbrdead men were served with a cone of peanut butter and brownie batter to make it a treat to die for.
With this festive chocolate box, Vegan Treats taps into two trends. The first is plant-based eating. According to our global Taste Tomorrow consumer survey, 56% of consumers are interested in plant-based options of (sweet) bakery products and more than half of consumers buy plant-based food monthly. Especially for a holiday such as Halloween, being inclusive in dietary wishes becomes more important, as people want to share their treats with others. The second trend they’ve understood very well, is chocolate and patisserie as affordable luxury. The colorful and fun chocolates in the beautiful and artsy box are a perfect product for consumers that want to indulge themselves. The chocolate box offers them some decadence they can’t afford in other areas of their lives, but they can enjoy it through high-end snacks.
Get inspired: both small bakeries and large supermarket chains are wise to make their seasonal offerings as inclusive as possible. That means not just opting for vegan options, but also to take note of the most common food allergies, such as peanuts, sesame, soy and wheat. For your next Halloween products, don’t just think of shareable treats, but also of more special items that consumers can buy as little pick-me-ups for themselves.
American doughnut company and coffeehouse chain Krispy Kreme introduced the Scooby Dooby-Doo Halloween Dozen in partnership with Warner Bros. this Halloween. The famous cartoon series made for a great limited edition, including a Scooby Dooby-Doo Doughnut, a Mystery Machine Doughnut and a Spooky Monster Cookies N’ Kreme Doughnut. As the cartoon dog and his friend have a spooky mystery to solve each episode, this show is the perfect fit for Halloween. Krispy Kreme even marketed the doughnut box as a mystery for their customers: finding out how every delicious box of Scooby Dooby-Doo treats managed to vanish almost immediately.
The partnership with Warner Bros. is a win-win: both franchises get great exposure out of collaboration. The existing fanbase of the Scooby Dooby-Doo series will want to try this limited edition for sure and the extra visibility helps as promo for the Warner Bros. cartoon. In the food world, we see a trend of brands releasing a product or a product line around popular movies, shows and game characters. Think of the ripples theBarbie movie caused in the food scene in 2023 for example. The hype proves that these collaborations are very beneficial for food promotion and sales.
Get inspired: Large food manufacturers can find a (super)hero, movie, cartoon or artist that fits their brand and partner up with the marketing machines of major players like Warner Bros. For a successful collaboration, it is important that there is sufficient overlap between the look and values of both brands, but with a different target audience. This ensures credibility and maximum impact. Small-scale entrepreneurs will have to respond cleverly to media trends without violating copyrights. Think of releasing bright pink 'Malibu Dream' cupcakes around the Barbie movie release, without using Barbie's name and image.
Three little holes. That’s all it took for Aldi to turn a regular bake-off naan into a Scary Naan. The holes resemble a screaming mouth and wide-open eyes, giving the naan the appearance of a face in terror. The idea is super simple, yet brilliant. No wonder the product was often shared on social media platforms such as Instagram, X and TikTok.
That amount of free publicity is priceless. Perhaps that’s why pizza chain Papa Johns chose to bring back its limited-edition Jack-O'-Lantern pizza. The eerie-sistable pumpkin-shaped pizza is topped with cheese and pepperoni slices in the shape of a spooky smile. When they first launched the pizza in 2019, it sparked loads of social media coverage. Although many of the posts were so called ‘fails’, the Jack-O'-Lantern pizza was a crowd favorite, and – most importantly – it takes little effort to make. Just two cuts in the crust of a regular pizza to create the pumpkin stem.
Get inspired: Producers of all shapes and kinds can take a cue from Aldi's and Papa Johns’ success. What simple yet ingenious ideas can you come up with to turn your existing products into a spooky special with minimum effort? A small, quirky twist is all it takes to capture the attention of your customer base and online audiences alike. Embrace the power of simplicity and let your creativity shine.