Dessert isn’t an after-meal treat anymore, or an afterthought.
According to the 2017 Dessert Consumer Trend report from Technomic, consumers are embracing dessert as an anytime occasion. That’s especially true for on-the-go consumers, who are combining snacking with desserts for sweet treat consumption anywhere and everywhere.
“Portable desserts like milkshakes, smoothies and fruit are increasingly popular for anytime occasions like snacking and replacing meals,” explains Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic.
What does that mean for grocers who offer ready-to-make, take-home and prepared foods? “Greater opportunity exists to drive off-peak traffic by positioning desserts as craveable, stand-alone occasions throughout the day or by emphasizing the snackable nature of top desserts like fruit, cookies, brownies and ice cream," adds Weikel.
Getting a larger slice of the shoppers’ pie, therefore, may mean adding pie slices to a hot foods case or offering fresh-baked cookies at peak traffic times like after school or work.
Many stores already have cold desserts available for to-go snacks all day. Mariano’s stores in the Midwest, for example, feature gelato service counters. Whole Foods has added grab-your-own mocha cases near its hot foods bar and deli areas, capitalizing on shoppers’ sweet-tooth cravings. Hy-Vee Market Grille has teamed up with dessert-centric brand The Cheesecake Factory to offer a variety of cheesecake slices on its menu.
When making and promoting desserts in-store, operators can also tout their own dessert expertise and quality. The Technomic research shows that nearly half (48%) of consumers say they are willing to pay more for desserts that are made from scratch.