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

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
tapas

I’ve created a high school “focus group” to see what future college students will want in terms of foodservice. This year, I called up two now-seniors from the last group to get 10 of their friends together. I also include a sophomore or two so that I always have a contact for next year. Tapas, grain bowls and late-night breakfast all originated from this group.

Ideas and Innovation
making meals

This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

Industry News & Opinion
sharing love

Having never personally experienced a hurricane, I can only imagine the horrors faced by the millions of people whose lives were affected by Harvey and Irma in late August and early September. It’s a group that comprises uncounted noncommercial operations, including Houston Independent School District, which serves 215,000 students.

But from that tragedy has come one of the most impressive feats of foodservice I’ve seen since coming on board at this magazine, partially spearheaded by Nutrition Officer Betti Wiggins , who only just joined the district. For the entire school year,...

FSD Resources