Over the past two years, comfort foods have moved into the spotlight – with dessert being top of mind to meet consumers need for comfort. In fact, nearly half of consumers say that they are craving more comfort foods as safety became a need state during the height of the pandemic, and they enjoy the same desserts and dessert flavors they at as a child1.
Over the past couple of years, heavy dessert consumption has sharply risen. Consumers are shifting the frequency of their dessert consumption from a once-in-a-while indulgence to a routine treat. During the pandemic, some consumers increased their snacking while working from home, and others prepared desserts as a form of entertainment. During this stressful time, these small indulgences provided a comfort that may have long-term impacts on consumer dessert eating behavior. In fact, nearly 40% of consumers eat dessert at least twice a week, which is up from 2019, and many of them eat dessert upwards of 5 times a week1.
Each generation has their own preferences toward nostalgic desserts. Consumers belonging to older generations have a stronger affinity towards classic desserts like Cherries Jubilee, fruit cobbler, and dutch apple2. Younger consumers, on the other hand, have a stronger affinity toward dessert flavors like Nutella, sour apple, tres leches, pumpkin spice, and funfetti, which is more reminiscent of their more recent childhood.
As consumers seek to satisfy their sweet-tooth cravings, operators at both chains and independent restaurants should be promoting classic desserts - with a twist to generate renewed excitement. For example, take a traditional apple pie, deconstruct the top crust, and turn it into a Cinnamon roll apple pie in a few easy steps. Or consider taking a comforting pumpkin pie and elevating it with unique toppings such as marshmallows, cheesecake, chocolate ganache, or spicy bacon. Looking for a nostalgic to-go solution? Take warm cherry pie or cobbler and scoop it in a to-go container with whipped cream, fudge sauce, and granola streusel – the perfect indulgent take home treat!
Comfort is here to stay! Over half of consumer say that they expect to be equally as interested in menu items that bring a sense of comfort over the next few years3. Here at Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, we offer a library of culinary tools that can help elevate pie into culinary delights craved by all generations. With over 40 recipes to inspire creative ideas, and an extensive product list, we are ready to help you with all your recipe solutions.1. Source: Technomic, U.S. Dessert Consumer Trend Report, 2021