Pretzel Popularity Soars

Pretzel Popularity Soars

It's a good time to be a fan of pretzels.

A record 160 pretzel products were released last year whereas only 60 were released in 2009 according to reports research specialist Mintel.

After Wendy's made a killing with their hugely successful Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, it seems that pretzels have become a ubiquitous staple on a variety of menus.

Wendy's is credited with starting the trend by adding a pretzel bread as a bun to their bacon cheeseburger last summer and now they plan to release a new chicken sandwich called the Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich. Sonic released a Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog last summer and Ruby Tuesday created four different types of pretzel sandwiches. Even Starbucks has embraced the trend by rolling out a mustard-filled Stoneground Dijon Bavarian-Style Pretzel.

7-Eleven is the next big chain jumping on the pretzel bandwagon with their Diablo Chicken Ranch Sandwich and they're in good company. In addition to the aforementioned companies Dunkin Donuts and Red Robin have also added pretzel-infused items to their menus.

But pretzel sandwiches are just the beginning. According to reports research specialist Datassential, pretzel bread is growing more popular with a 36 percent leap on sandwich menus from 2011 to 2012.

Tons of companies are jumping on the popularity of pretzel bread in the snack department too. Recently Wal-Mart released Great Value Parmesan Garlic-Flavored Pretzel Balls while Dairy Queen tried out a Choco-Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Blizzard. Nature Valley debuted Chocolate Pretzel Nut Granola Bars and, in an attempt to compete with Hot Pockets, Aldi has released Pretzel Bread Stuffed Sandwiches.

Mintel's new-products expert, Lynn Dornblaser, doesn't see this trend slowing down any time soon. Dornblaser has even predicted that pretzels will eventually make their way into dog food!

Dornblaser believes pretzels are trending because they are tasty and crunchy, but don't pack the fats that typically appear in other breads and pastries. She believes that crushed pretzels will begin to appear in fancier restaurants in the form of pretzel-crusted chicken or fish.

Consumers have certainly taken a bite out of the pretzel and it seems that the savory snack is here to stay.

check out the slideshow below to take a look back at fast food menus of the past.