How important is nutrition in your dessert menu? Not nearly as important as having a signature dessert and excellent flavor.
Datassential recently released a keynote report on the state of desserts today. There are several key takeaways for the food and beverage sector. One unsurprising fact is that while we’ve become more health-conscious in many ways, we still love our desserts just the way they are. Consumers are not looking at the health benefits of desserts. According to dessert-serving operators, only 9% of their patrons pay attention to the nutritional benefits of desserts.
So, what are customers looking for?
Flavor. Datassential noted, “Taste and flavor even beat out cost considerations, which is notable in this somewhat rocky economic environment.” Consumers responded to the Datassential survey by noting that “flavor profile/how it tastes” is by far the top consideration when deciding whether to order from food service or have dessert at home.
Nostalgia plays into flavor choices as well. S’mores, cookie dough, and banana pudding are among the top trending flavors in the dessert segment. “More than four-in-five consumers are at least somewhat interested in nostalgic desserts and the appeal is broad across generations.” Forty-five percent of the survey respondents wanted classic, traditional desserts while only 14% replied that they wanted trendy desserts.
Signature desserts. The goal of a signature dish, whether an entrée or dessert, is to leave your mark and stand out among your competitors. “Over half of all consumers say they look forward to signature desserts from specific restaurants.” By generation, Gen Z and Millennials are most enthusiastic about signature desserts at 62% and 58% respectively.
According to Datassential, 38% of operators currently offer signature desserts. This is an untapped source of additional revenue. “Signature desserts provide an element of scarcity and exclusivity that can showcase what makes a brand unique.” While consumers often see skipping dessert as a way to economize, tapping into their desire for a unique dessert experience offers a way into their hearts and wallets.
Think small. More than four out of five consumers are at least somewhat interested in mini desserts while only 57% are somewhat interested in jumbo desserts. Think about making some of your more popular dessert offerings in a smaller size. Mini cupcakes, mini cookies, brownie bites, and personal-sized pies are all ways you can create a fun, craveable dessert for which patrons will pay a comparable price to full-size.
When it comes to profitability, Datassential reports that “60% of operators say that the desserts they offer help to drive profit.” Interestingly, small desserts, specifically cookies, offer the highest revenue and margins among all desserts.
Create Fun. That’s what desserts have always been, and still are: fun. Whether it’s a signature dessert; whether it’s mini or jumbo; whether it’s nostalgic or avant-garde people eat desserts for the fun of it. “To relax/relieve stress” was the number three motivator for consumers eating dessert, according to Datassential. This is especially true in key demographics: Millennial and Gen Z, at 17% and 24% respectively.
Younger consumers are also looking for fun flavors and colors in frozen desserts from global cuisines with 39% of consumers finding them extremely appealing. Among the frozen flavors to top the list are: churro, pot de crème, mochi, and halwa.
At the end of the day, or in this case, at the end of the meal, it’s all about feeling good about life and living. Desserts are how we put a tough day behind us and treat ourselves. They’re how we celebrate. And, for your menu, they’re another way you can distinguish yourself in the marketplace and drive revenue.
Avendra’s sourcing experts examine data from Datassential and other forecasters to ensure your menus are always at the forefront of food trends. We can provide new and unique insights into how these trends can be incorporated effectively to meet changing tastes. Let us help you enhance your menus, boost profitability, and create memorable experiences for your guests.