Industry News | October 14, 2010

Dessert Really is Icing on the Cake for Restaurants

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It is no secret that the foodservice industry has suffered recently through a bleak economy, but the silver lining of the cloud could actually turn out to be icing. Technomic’s newest study finds that for the past three years, more consumers have consistently eaten more dessert. Occupying the smallest portion of most restaurant menus, dessert presents a strong growth opportunity for operators looking to increase sales.

“Dessert is unique, because it not only involves sensory appeal, but also sparks strong emotional drivers,” says Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano. “If someone wants to reward themselves after a bad day, they might splurge on a dessert to feel better; but if they want to celebrate after a good day, they might do the same thing. Motivations for craving dessert run the gamut." Tristano says only 1 percent of Technomic's survey respondents said they did not eat dessert, and 70 percent eat dessert at least once a week.

The 2010 Dessert Consumer Trend Report was developed by Technomic to help restaurants, manufacturers, and suppliers stay on top of dessert trends and evolving consumer needs. Interesting findings include:

• Fine dining menus are featuring more adventurous flavor combinations. Salty, smoky, savory, and herbal flavor combinations can pique the interest of certain consumers. • A variety of beverages can also satisfy consumer dessert cravings. Coffee, specialty coffee options, and adult beverages can all serve as a dessert for many consumers. • Pricing can influence dessert purchases, but cost is less of a factor for dessert than for other mealparts. Price is, however, a major consideration for consumers who purchase dessert from a retailer after dining out.

The 2010 Dessert Consumer Trend report provides an in-depth look at the dessert category, reporting on more than 75 different types of dessert. The report utilizes a survey of more than 1,500 consumers, as well as analysis of Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor online trend tracking resource, based on menus at more than 1,000 leading and emerging chains and independent restaurants throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.

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