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.

Fruit
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
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

Ideas and Innovation
earth

When putting together our surveys, FoodService Director’s editors tend to ask operators about big trends that we’re seeing throughout the industry. For the November "Besties" issue , we asked readers to share the best ways they’re menuing things like plant-based dishes, trending international cuisines and creative DIY options.

Great responses flooded in from across the country, and it was tough to narrow down which would make it into the cover story. A few even came in after the piece was finished. Laura Thompson, resident district manager for Aramark at James Madison University,...

FSD Resources