Classic desserts get an update


From Bistro Collection® Gourmet Desserts.

Molecular gastronomy and elaborate creations certainly stole the spotlight in the dessert world in recent years, but increasingly, operators and consumers alike are shifting back toward the old favorites—including cookies, brownies, bars and cakes—which are all seeing a resurgence in popularity.

For operators who want to take advantage of interest in classic desserts, here are a few tips for appealing to consumers’ current preferences.

Updated classics and signature desserts

Classic desserts, such as cake, brownies, bars and cheesecake, are all enjoying a bit of a revival in popularity on menus. In Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report, 54% of younger consumers say they prefer the same desserts they ate as a child. For older consumers, that number is 43%.

Overall, to boost dessert sales, operators can consider offering nostalgic favorites—desserts that are reminiscent of what someone might have had as a kid. Operators can also include nostalgic ingredients such as M&Ms, Ghirardelli® chocolate or Oreos in their desserts, or offer throwback items such as root beer floats or s’mores. Here are some deliciously impressive thaw-and-serve desserts from Bistro Collection® that will add nostalgic appeal to any operation’s menu:

Creating signatures is a good way to update classic desserts, too. Speed-scratch signatures, or putting a twist onto premade desserts before serving them, is a quick and easy way to do this. For example, serve slices of cheesecake with housemade sauces or drizzles—according to Technomic's MenuMonitor, the five fastest growing sauces are butter, huckleberry, mango, raspberry coulis and honey sauce—or offer seasonal- flavored ice creams to pair with cake slices or dessert bars.

Chocolate—the forever favorite flavor

When it comes to what flavors reign supreme in the world of desserts, there aren’t too many surprises – according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, the top five flavors for desserts are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana and caramel. These familiar five provide the base for many classic desserts, from Devil’s Food cake to strawberry shortcake and banana cream pie.

Real ingredients

Like other parts of the menu, desserts are seeing more clean-label callouts. Real sugar is taking the place of artificial sweeteners, real vanilla is taking the place of artificial flavors and made-from-scratch
desserts are heating up as well. According to Technomic’s Dessert report, 63% of consumers say that desserts made with real ingredients are appealing, so incorporating real ingredients into dessert offerings can be an area of opportunity.

These real ingredients also scratch consumers’ nostalgia itch—fresh churned butter, real cream and fresh fruit may remind people of desserts their families made when they were growing up.

Get inspiration

Want to get in on the throwback dessert trend? Some nostalgic dessert updates offered in restaurants right now include:

  • Appledorn Living Center in Holland, Michigan offers a selection of chocolate cake favorites, including regular chocolate cake, German chocolate cake and triple chocolate cake.
  • Georgia State University’s Patton Hall dining center serves up an allergen-free dessert riff on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—the “Soy Butter and Jelly Cheesecake.”
  • California State University Long Beach-Hillside takes diners back to childhood with its Fruit Loops Rice Krispy bar.
  • Hackensack University Medical Center offers Angel Food Cake, a lighter treat, with raspberry sauce.

Bistro Collection® Gourmet Desserts offers a full line of indulgent, ready-to-serve brownies & dessert bars, cakes, cheesecakes and more to help operators easily offer customers the comforting, nostalgic flavors they crave. On-trend flavors include Brown Butter Bourbon Bar, S’mores Brownie, Pecan Carmelita and Baileys® Dark Chocolate Brownie.

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