Monthly Insight – Dessert Trends

Monthly Insight – Dessert Trends

Sales and value growth

Volume sales of desserts have continued to decline, reflecting consumerconcerns about sugar and competition from other categories. Valuesales have fared better due to inflation and premiumisation. Whilevolume sales were down 8% in 2018 compared to 2013, value saleswere up 4% to £1.59bn. Chilled desserts account for the largest shareof total sales (47% by value), but lost ground to frozen over the last two years. Ambient desserts have struggled, but have been boosted byincreased sales of RTE and lunchbox-ready family desserts.

Something for everyone

71% of dessert eaters agree that single-serve desserts are a good way ofcatering for differing individual tastes in the household. Having a wide portfolio that spans into other categories will therefore provide means for dessert manufacturers to compete with increased competition forthe post-dinner treat enjoyed by 42% of consumers. Targeting special occasions will also reap benefits, as 42% of consumers limit dessert consumption to when they have guests, with 75% agreeing that shop-bought desserts are suitable to serve to guests.

Preference for home-made

Almost half of all consumers prefer to make desserts at home, risingto 56% among 16-34 year-olds, poses a significant obstacle tocategory growth. As seen in other categories however, this could
be overcome through dessert kit solutions which remain rare,

yet are of interest to 40% of dessert eaters. This also taps intoconsumer demand for customisation, appealing to 57% ofconsumers.

Traditional with a twist

Demand for traditional desserts with new flavour twistsbodes well for old favourites. With 44% of dessert eatersinterested in these, flavour variation clearly offers ameans to reignite consumer interest within the category.Desserts traditional to other countries represent an untapped opportunity. These interest 35% of eaters ofdesserts, showing the love of international cuisines inthe UK, and potential for this to attract new consumers.

Less sugar, more taste

Reformulation is a challenge, but healthier desserts that do not compromise on taste will win favour and are needed to both bolsterthe category and meet PHE’s target of 20% reduction by 2020, which has so far been missed. Desserts lower in sugar are of interest toconsumers (42%), as well as those under 100 calories per serving (38%).

Dessert trends to watch

Savoury Infusions –From herb/vegetable inclusions, to fruits with smoky notes, desserts are growing ever more complex and exciting.

Spice It Up –Chilli infusions are not new to desserts, but we now see a broader variety of chillies used, e.g. ancho, bird’s eye, guajillo andcascabel.

Flower Power –Hibiscus was declared as 2019’s Flavour Of The Year,joining lavender, elderflower, rose and violet on the main stage.

Rhubarb–A taste for nostalgic, retro flavours heralds the return ofrhubarb to seasonal menus.

Importance of indulgence

Being indulgent helps add value to the market, as shown by 56%of buyers of desserts who feel that being indulgent (e.g. chocolate,cream) makes a dessert worth paying more for. High-quality ingredientsare also a key selling point (49%), as well as the visual appeal of thedessert (40%). This suggests high-quality ingredients warrant a higherprice, showing the value to brands of emphasising the use of the bestingredients on product packaging. A fifth of NPD dessert launches in2018 made premium claims, most of which were chilled and 94% were own-label.

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