All-day sweets are a rich opportunity

dessert morning snack

From Chef Pierre®.

Desserts have long been positioned on menus as a post-meal treat, but shifting consumer preferences mean that baked goods are now primed for all-day eating.

While the standard definition of what a dessert is hasn’t changed—71% of consumers say they consider dessert to be something traditional such as cookies, cake, pie, etc.—but increasingly, they say dessert is any sweet food item consumed at any time. Thirty-seven percent now say so, compared to 33% who said so in 2015, according to Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report.

This shift means that all-day desserts and baked goods, such as Chef Pierre® muffins and pastries, represent a sweet opportunity for operators around the clock.

Daily dessert habits

Nearly a third of consumers eat dessert at least twice a week or more, according to Technomic’s Dessert report. As for when they’re eating them, it varies—while after dinner is the most popular time to have a dessert, consumers say they also eat dessert as a mid-morning snack, after lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack, a mid-evening snack, a late-night snack and even as a meal replacement.

With diners eating dessert all day long, it’s not surprising that they’re choosing different foods and beverages for different times of day. Some of the most popular choices for dessert after lunch and dinner include brownies, cheesecake and cake, but other big sellers include Danishes and cinnamon rolls, according to Technomic’s 2016 Bakery and Coffee Café report.

As for snacks, handheld treats are big sellers—often when people are grabbing a dessert, they’re doing so on-the-go, so portability is key. Similarly, dessert drinks such as milkshakes are more popular after lunch than after dinner, perhaps because they’re easy to take to wherever the diner is going next.

Boosting interest in sweets

Choosing the best sweets to sell is important, and knowing what consumers expect to find on a dessert menu is crucial. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, the most common fruit flavors on non-commercial dessert menus are lemon, strawberry and apple, and other popular choices include cherry, raspberry and blueberry. Fruits work well in hand pies, muffins, pastries and as mix-ins for yogurt parfaits.

Other traditional desserts sell well, too—40% of consumers say they eat cookies as desserts at least once a week or more, while 28% say the same about cake, cheesecake or other baked goods. Twenty-two percent say that doughnuts are their sweet of choice.

To ensure that everyone who wants dessert finds something they like, it’s important to offer an array of options – from cinnamon rolls to muffins, pies, cakes and pastries. Dessert beverages can be great, too, especially if they’re customizable with the diner’s favorite fruits.

Capitalize on impulse purchases

According to Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report, consumers say that 54% of their dessert purchases are impulse buys. For operators looking to boost dessert sales, signage and strategic placement of the desserts can help—for instance, placing a pastry case near the coffee station to encourage breakfast patrons to purchase a mid-morning muffin or dessert snack with their coffee, or putting plates of grab-and-go cake slices near the register, where diners might see them and decide to treat themselves.

Operator opportunity for all-day dessert

All-day dessert is slowly becoming more and more popular, and with it, the opportunity for operators to sell more sweets is high. By positioning portable desserts, operators stand to benefit from those consumers who want to take their dessert to-go, while offering an array of different options, from baked goods to dessert drinks, ensures that every diner finds what they want, when they want it.

Authentic bakery favorites from a trusted brand

Chef Pierre® offers a complete line of bakery favorites, made from time-honored recipes and the carefully sourced ingredients. From plump Michigan blueberries and crisp apples to crunchy California walnuts and buttery streusel topping, each pie and baked good is carefully crafted with true quality. Operators and patrons alike love these sweets for their thaw-and-serve convenience and delicious taste. Learn more here.

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