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With foodservice sales still under a dark recessionary cloud, a silver lining appears to be that the smallest portion of restaurant menus – dessert – is more than holding its own, according to Technomic’s report “2010 Dessert Consumer Trend Report,” which finds that for the past three years, more consumers have consistently eaten more dessert, which presents a strong growth opportunity for those who capitalize on this information.
“Dessert is unique because it not only involves sensory appeal, but also sparks strong emotional drivers,” says Technomic EVP 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.” (Rewards aside, some people simply have a sweet tooth.) Tristano added that only 1 percent of Technomic’s survey respondents said they did not eat dessert, and 70 percent eat dessert at least once a week.
Some findings of interest in the study are:
• Fine dining menus are featuring more adventurous flavor combinations. Salty, smoky, savory, and herbal combinations can pique the interest of certain consumers.
• A variety of beverages can also satisfy diners’ 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 meal parts. Price is, however, a major consideration for consumers who purchase desserts from a retailer after eating out. (A word to the wise, Mr. Retailer.)