KANSAS CITY — Donut category leaders made moves in 2018 designed to stay in those positions. At retail, Hostess Brands, L.L.C., Kansas City, launched Jumbo Donettes as part of its breakfast brand strategy. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Winston-Salem, N.C., teamed up with the Hershey Co. and Mondelez International in launching donuts at its restaurants.

Hostess in September launched Hostess Jumbo Donette multipacks as well as Hostess Cinnamon Rolls and Danishes in multipacks with plans to also sell single-serve products. Hostess expects the branded items and the Cloverhill business, acquired in 2018, to be catalysts for growth in the breakfast segment, said Andrew P. Callahan, president and chief executive officer, in a Nov. 7 earnings call.

“Importantly, consumers continue to purchase Hostess at a rate ahead of the sweet baked goods category, which is a strong foundation for long-term growth,” he said.

Hostess Brands led the donut category with U.S. retail sales of $382.4 million in the 52 weeks ended Nov. 4, 2018, which was up 4.5% from the previous 52-week period, according to Information Resources, Inc., a market research firm based in Chicago. Hostess held a market share of 19%.

Sales in the overall category dipped 0.8% to $2,000.1 million over the 52-week period. Retail donut sales for Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V., second to Hostess Brands in vendor sales, were $329.9 million, down 2.1%. McKee Foods Corp., Collegedale, Tenn., in 2018 launched double chocolate mini donuts, joining other mini donuts in the form of powdered, frosted, glazed, strawberry and cinnamon sugar. Still, company donut sales slipped 0.5% to $274 million.

Top selling donut vendors chartDonut sales for JAB Holding, which bought Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in 2016, dropped 7.6% to $243.5 million in the 52-week period.

Krispy Kreme was active in product launches at the food service level. A Hershey’s Gold Doughnut introduced in 2018 pairs Krispy Kreme’s original glazed donut with pieces of the new Hershey’s Gold bar and a salted caramel icing. A Reese’s Outrageous Doughnut features a chocolate yeast dough, dipped in Hershey’s chocolate fudge icing, topped with mini Reese’s Pieces and drizzled with Reese’s peanut butter and salted caramel sauce.

Krispy Kreme also teamed up with Mondelez International to offer two new donuts. A Nutter Butter Cookie Twist Doughnut features a glazed Krispy Kreme donut dipped in peanut butter icing, topped with Nutter Butter cookie pieces and drizzled with peanut butter icing. The Chips Ahoy! Cookie Doughnut is an unglazed donut shell filled with Krispy Kreme’s cookie dough, dipped in dark chocolate, and topped with Chips Ahoy! cookie pieces and a mini Chips Ahoy! cookie. The items joined an Oreo donut featuring Oreo cookies and Krispy Kreme’s Kreme filling, dipped in dark chocolate icing, topped with Oreo cookie pieces and a white drizzle.

“Like Krispy Kreme, Oreo, Nutter Butter and Chips Ahoy! are cookie institutions,” said Jackie Woodward, chief marketing officer of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. “Only Krispy Kreme can take these treats to the next level by infusing flavors to make each cookie an awesome donut experience.”

Hostess Jumbo DonettesDunkin’ Brands Group Inc., Canton, Mass., will still sell donuts — millions of them, in fact — even though it removed “Donuts” from its Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant chain, which will become known as Dunkin’.

“Our new simplified branding for Dunkin’ and our recently announced plans to transform the espresso experience at Dunkin’ demonstrate our commitment to our beverage-led strategy,” said David Hoffman, c.e.o. of Dunkin’ Brands.

Dunkin’ sells more than 2.9 billion donuts and Munchkins donut hole treats annually worldwide. In 2018, Dunkin’ brought back its Pumpkin Donut and Munchkins donut hole treats.