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.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
seafood salad

From High Liner Foods.

Seafood—whether it’s in the form of fish and chips or tuna salad—is a menu staple for many foodservice locations. But seafood doesn’t have to be limited to just the center of the plate—it shines on other parts of the menu as well, from soups and salads to sides and snacks.

Here are four ways that seafood and fish are moving outside of the main course.


Starting the meal with soup is common for many diners, and in noncommercial settings, there’s usually an array of soups available each day. According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the...

Industry News & Opinion

Regional School Unit 17 in Belfast, Maine, is banning straws beginning on Monday, the Penbay Pilot reports.

The ban was put into action by a student group and the district’s foodservice director. Over the years, the district has also phased out plastic utensils and plans to completely eliminate foam food trays this upcoming school year.

Director of Food Services Perley Martin told the Penbay Pilot that the district’s foodservice budget has not increased as a result of the transition to more eco-friendly materials, due to the fact the change was made slowly.


Industry News & Opinion

School districts in Jefferson, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties in New York will be expanding their farm-to-school programs as the result of new funding, Watertown Daily Times reports.

The expansions will be made possible by the Seeds for Success program, which awarded grants to seven school districts last year to begin farm-to-school programs. This year, it will provide $5,000 grants to an additional 19 districts to either start or expand their local food efforts.

One of the grant recipients said it will use the funds to add additional gardens and expand its composting...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark has begun using a new system to track, purchase and report on its sustainable practices.

The system, named Open Fields, allows foodservice vendors to create and monitor their own sustainability programs. Users can run their own metrics on various sustainability initiatives based on factors such as location, product, spend, attribute, farm/vendor, miles to location and distributor. Managers can also generate reports on their organization’s sustainable purchases.

Aramark says it’s using the software to track its sustainable purchases of products that are Fair Trade...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code