By Rieva Lesonsky

When I was growing up I looked forward to our family forays into New York City for many reasons, but one was definitely the chance to get a fresh, hot pretzel from a street vendor. There could be no better way to eat a pretzel, I thought-but I was wrong.

All these years later pretzel-mania has broken out across America. But the pretzel is not just a snack anymore. USA Today reports that the “pretzel is taking over…as a holding vehicle for burgers and sandwiches,” which can be found in national chains like 7-Eleven and Wendy’s. The Corner Bakery has been offering pretzel bread for years, and many other restaurants (including Starbucks) are selling premium pretzel offerings.

Pretzels are not just for sandwiches, either. According to the newspaper, research firm Mintel says 160 pretzel products were introduced into the market in 2012, up from 50-something products in 2009. Mintel is predicting the pretzel craze might spread to the specialty dog treat market, and Dairy Queen is offering pretzels in its ice cream.

USA Today reports that Datassential, another research company, calls pretzel bread the fastest-growing sandwich bread in the nation, “with a 36 percent jump on sandwich menus from 2011 to 2012.”

According to Mintel, one of the reasons for America’s new crush on pretzels is that they’re crunchy, and typically not as fattening as other breads. Mintel forecasts pretzels will soon be turning up in more upscale eateries (think pretzel-crusted chicken).

If you own a restaurant, grocery or convenience store, be sure to think about adding pretzels to your offerings.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.