In other areas of Japan, sweets which are backed with hundreds of years of history have become famous and are used as souvenirs. In Hokkaido however, hot-selling sweets are not only manufactured as souvenirs, but are designed and developed as souvenirs.
Requirements for a souvenir sweet are completely different than something from a cake shop. For example if I choose fresh cake, I want to buy something hand-made and seasonal, and will keep it cool while taking it home. On the other hand, for a souvenir sweet, consistent quality, durability, light, and a longer expiration date is desired. More than anything else, everyone wants something "Hokkaido-like". There is an image of Hokkaido as western-style agriculture and dairy products, and most souvenir sweets have been established by using raw materials from Hokkaido, so there is a certain amount of reality in the types of food available.
At that point, I guess western-style souvenir sweets promote that image of Hokkaido, so they aren't so bad. After all, western-style sweets made in Japan were the start that inspired Japanese to visit a foreign land.