, a premiere business intelligence marketplace serving the Fortune 1000, announced today the results of a recent study "The U.S. Market For Sweet Baked Goods," by Kalorama Information. Consisting of seven categories, cookies, pastries, snack cakes, doughnuts, cakes, pies and muffins, cookies accounted for 48.4% of U.S. sweet baked goods sales in 1999. Pastries followed with a share of 15.3%, just beating out snack cakes at 14.0%. Projected retail sales of packaged sweet baked goods will top $12.2 billion in 2004, as a result of a 3.1% compound annual growth rate for 1999-2004.Since the 1960s, increasing awareness of health and fitness issues, including harmful effects of fat, cholesterol and sodium had caused Americans to stop eating sweets. However, in the early to mid 1990s, Americans began to ignore previous warnings and started indulging again, but in moderation. Muffins, snack cakes and cookies are viewed as convenient pick-me-ups for the consumer on the go. "Americans are not abandoning healthy eating habits, they are eating more sensibly and watching fat intake," said Claire Madden, VP of Marketing at "Consumers have a better understanding of diet and now know that avoiding all fat in their diet is not a wise choice." Due to this trend, in the past few years, sweet baked goods sales have received a boost.Moderation is a key factor, as consumers have become more sophisticated about nutrition. Balanced dieting combined with snacking, as a "fourth meal" is the current trend. A strong economy has also resulted in Americans desire to pamper themselves, thereby spending more on snacks, entertaining and indulgences. This trend towards moderation with the occasional surrender to sugar craving will provide incremental sales for manufacturers.