Dessert snapshot

The operators peg fruit to grow.

Fruit, by far, is the dessert category that operators expect to grow the most in the next two years (42%). It already has the highest percentage of total dessert sales (23%). The next growth category is ice cream/frozen treats, at 17%, followed by cakes, at 16%, which were both largely buoyed by colleges; 38% of colleges expect growth in ice cream/frozen treats and 25% expect growth in cakes. Cookies, at 22%, also have a high percentage of total dessert sales. 

Schools, at 51%, were the most likely segment not to expect growth in any dessert category, due in large part to new meal regulations, which make it difficult for desserts to be sold in schools. One-third of the overall non-commercial market expects no growth in this area.

Overall 42% of respondents expect fruit to be the most popular dessert growth category. For Dave Manz, district manager for the Pittsburgh market of Parkhurst Dining, fruit is not only being promoted as a healthier option, but his customers are also asking for it. “In the catering realm, when we do offer dessert, we offer fruit as second option,” he explains.

Ice cream
Nearly 40% of colleges and universities indicate that the biggest growth area for dessert will come from ice cream/frozen treats. “It’s kind of a no-brainer,” observes Scot Ostrander, food administrator at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb. “Everyone loves ice cream … for college kids, it reminds them of home.” Several colleges and universities have also started offering gelato, which will also impact growth for this menu category.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

FSD Resources