Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Amid recent media reports that photos on cake-mix boxes mislead consumers, showing much larger serving sizes than those specified in the nutritional information (thereby allegedly causing them to eat more than they should), Roy Morgan Research data confirms that obese Australians are substantially more likely than the population average Australian 18+ to buy cake mix in an average four weeks.

However, the proportion of Australians — obese and otherwise — buying cake mix has declined over the last few years, so debate over misleading packaging may soon become irrelevant anyway.

Between 2011 and 2015, the proportion of Australian adults who bought cake mix in an average four-week period fell from 10.4% to 7.7%. Among Aussies with a Body Mass Index (BMI) classified as obese, the proportion of cake-mix buyers declined from 12.0% to 10.7% in the same period.

Cake-mix purchase incidence declined even more noticeably among consumers with a BMI classified as overweight (from 10.0% to 6.5%), acceptable (9.6% to 6.5%) and underweight (12.1% to 7.2%).

Cake-mix purchase incidence by BMI: 2011 vs 2015


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan–Dec 2011 (n=18,131) and Jan–Dec 2015 (n=14,674).

But BMI is just one perspective from which to examine the decrease in cake mix sales. The downward trend is just as pronounced among Australians of all ages, particular 18-24 year-olds (whose cake-mix buying saw a 39% drop from 8.3% to 5.1% between 2011 and 2015) and 35-49 year-olds (a 28% decrease from 14.5% to 10.5%).

Even among parents of kids under 16, traditionally one of the groups most likely to buy cake mix, purchase incidence has taken a hit. Whereas 17.8% of Aussie parents bought cake mix in an average four weeks in 2011, that figure slipped to 13.9% in 2015.

There is, however, one light on the horizon for cake-mix brands. Although sales are trending down in most Australian states, the proportion of Tasmanians buying cake mix has risen from 7.3% in 2011 to 9.1% in 2015.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With TV shows like The Great Australian Bake Off and My Kitchen Rules setting a high bar in the kitchen, could it be that Australians have been inspired to greater culinary heights themselves, shunning the easy option of packaged cake mix and baking cakes from scratch instead? While our data cannot answer that question, it certainly points at a widespread decline in purchase incidence of cake mix across different sectors of the population (except for Tasmanians!).

“Cake-mix brands keen to buck this trend have their work cut out for them, but with the help of Roy Morgan Research’s detailed and holistic consumer insights, they stand a better chance of identifying the shoppers most likely to buy their product in this challenging market. For example, Australians who often receive compliments on their cooking and those who tend to snack throughout the day are both almost 25% more likely than the average Aussie to buy cake mix in an average four weeks.

“It is important to note that just because cake-mix sales are down, this doesn’t necessarily mean fewer people are eating cake: they could have moved on to eating cake that they’re baking from scratch themselves, or they could be purchasing cakes from patisseries or bakers. Just another factor for cake-mix brands should take into account…”

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Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Samantha Wilson
P: (03) 9224 5268


cake, health, supermarkets, cake mix, diet, obesity




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