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What’s Trending in Tasty Treats

Despite increasing consumer interest in healthy and better-for-you foods, plenty of consumers still enjoy treating themselves. And within bakery and dessert categories, there’s plenty of opportunity for food retailers to capitalize on this in their prepared foods departments.

In its Whats In Store 2017 report, the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) says that sales at in-store bakeries are up 51% over the past five years, with sweet goods leading the pack. Looking beyond sweets as popular dessert options, what can food retailers take away from current dessert trends to boost sales within their bakery departments?

Consumer dessert preferences

According to Technomic’s2017 Dessert report, there are a few standout consumer trends food retailers can spotlight in their own operations:

  • Consumers are choosing to eat dessert at times other than right after a meal—a trend that may be driven by consumers’ penchant for snacking. This means that offering snackable desserts such as mini sized items or items packaged for grab-and-go can provide a sales boost.
  • Dessert beverages are on the rise thanks to increased consumer preference for milkshakes and dessert smoothies. Adding a smoothie station where shoppers can customize orders can be one way to offer these on-trend options. At coffee kiosks, dessert-like add ins such as flavored creamers, whipped topping or syrups and drizzles can also appeal to the dessert beverage trend.
  • Dairy-free desserts are increasing in popularity, with one in four consumers saying they are increasingly willing to try them. Food retailers should spotlight these offerings with signage or specials to increase awareness for consumers seeking out these options.
  • “Clean” desserts, including desserts free of additives, preservatives and gluten, are gaining ground. As a bonus, these desserts can be marketed as better-for-you, potentially tempting health-conscious consumers to try.

Desserts across dayparts

According to Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion report, 61% of consumers purchase baked goods as snacks at least occasionally. In the morning, most want sweet baked goods such as doughnuts or muffins, while preferences later in the day tend to lean toward salty snacks.

As far as dayparts are concerned, while after dinner remains the most popular time to consume dessert, Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report finds that dessert is a staple for many consumers throughout the day. For instance, 26% have a food or beverage they’d consider a dessert as a mid-morning snack, while 35% do so after lunch. Additionally, 34% eat dessert as a mid-afternoon snack, 44% as a mid-evening snack and 33% as a late-night snack.

As desserts span across dayparts, dinnertime remains the most popular time, with 58% of consumers enjoying dessert after dinner. To further boost sales during the other time periods, consider special offers like “buy-one-get-one free.”

Boost sales with bakery and beverage pairings

Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report finds that 38% of consumers think dessert/beverage combo meals are appealing or extremely appealing, and food retailers can use that to their advantage.  To boost awareness of dessert and beverage pairings, try having a display of grab-and-go desserts near the coffee kiosk or soft drink fountain. Presenting the two items together is convenient and may result in incremental sales that would be unlikely had they not been merchandised side-by-side.    

Tips for promoting bundles and pairings include:
 

  • Create a selection of grab-and-go breakfast bundles featuring breakfast pastries, doughnuts or muffins paired with milk, coffee, tea or juice.
  • Feature a mid-afternoon Snack Attackor Snack-and-Gopromotion, giving customers a choice of one sweet treat plus one beverage for one low price.
  • Pair meals from the deli with a dessert and a drink at lunch time. For instance, offer a fresh-baked cookie from your in-store bakery alongside a sandwich and drink.
  • Offer desserts from well-known brands consumers know and trust. For example, Nestle® Toll House® has a 92% consumer awareness score and has been a consumer favorite for over 90 years, according to Nestle Professional Proprietary Research from 2016. Due to recognition and reputation, Nestle Toll House cookies offer a sweet opportunity to boost dessert sales.

Offering clean, free-from desserts

Another way to encourage consumers to purchase dessert is offering options that align with certain dietary needs and preferences. Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report states that 29% of consumers are eating healthier desserts more often. Some of these desserts appeal to specific dietary preferences, such as non-dairy ice cream or vegan cookies.

Other clean desserts call attention to what they don’t include, rather than what they do—for instance, sweets that lack additives, gluten, preservatives or artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. Offering naturally sweetened desserts, as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar and low-carb desserts, can help entice health-conscious shoppers to purchase dessert.

The opportunity for increased sales in the bakery and dessert categories is rich. Take advantage of consumers’ penchant for snacking and all-day dessert eating, as well as their expanded definition of what desserts are by offering combo deals and all-day options to boost dessert sales.

This post is sponsored by Nestlé Professional

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