By Rieva Lesonsky
It almost seems as if there’s something new to report about desserts every month. According to this report from Mars Wrigley Food Services, there’s a “new dessert” sweeping the nation—and it’s “not a passing fad.”
This new dessert delivers on taste, but does so without the guilt. The report notes consumers are “gravitating toward [desserts with] smaller portions; shared items; and desserts that are formulated in ways that meet their definition of being better-for-you, with fresh, local ingredients and minimally processed additives.”
Part of the challenge for restaurant owners is pleasing smarter consumers, who know how healthy—or unhealthy—the dessert they’re ordering is. The big concern for today’s consumers, says Mars Wrigley, is sugar consumption. While many Americans have “relaxed their attitudes about fat consumption, 22% are trying to reduce their sugar intake.” The upside for restaurant owners is 56% of consumers will pay more for food and beverages that don’t contain “undesirable ingredients.”
To please dessert-eating customers, you need to offer them more options—beyond gluten- and dairy-free choices. Christine Couvelier, founder of consulting firm Culinary Concierge, says some restaurants are exploring “baked desserts made with ancient grains.” She recommends using words like “artisan-made” to sell consumers on your desserts. Finally, she says, “desserts featuring citrus flavors or savory ingredients can also convey a more healthful alternative for consumers seeking to satisfy their sweet tooth without overdoing it.” As we’ve noted before, mini desserts and huge shareable desserts are also popular options.