The dessert market is as big as it’s ever been and its popularity doesn’t seem to be anything but on the rise. For a long time, desserts were perceived a considered extra at the end of a main meal or the encore to a main event, so to speak. It is now the case that desserts are often the main event and, on occasion, sort out as the sole dish when dining out.

Scream and shake; its a non-stop summer!

As would be expected, ice cream and other frozen desserts see a peak in the summer months and at times of elevated climate, however the demand is in no way limited to a single season. The ice cream market seems to have taken on a life of its own with wild, wonderful and whopping creations being increasingly accepted as the norm. The demand for ‘shakes and ice cream, as a combination and separately, has seen a boom in the number of establishments specialising in such sweet treats.

‘I’m on a diet’

Fruit elements are still popular all year round but this summer we should expect particular interest in more citrus-based desserts, whether these be as elements of a dish or the key aspects. Dependent upon other elements, fruits can form a healthier and in fact more refreshing finish to any meal. Another alternative dessert ingredient seeing a surge in popularity is that of different types of grain, specifically in baking. Caterers are now becoming more open to the idea of using grains including wheat, granola and spelt in biscuits and cakes as well as more unexpected dishes, not just for garnish or aesthetic but flavour enhancement also. Again, in moderation these food types can reduce the usually questionable nutritional attributes of many traditional desserts.

Desserts don’t discriminate


Desserts and particularly ice creams are perhaps most associated with children aged 4-16. These being viewed as treats leads to an increased desire from the younger consumer whose consumption of sweet desserts is often limited or at least controlled by parents and guardians. In recent years desserts have become a little more ‘cool’, this has led to different demographics taking a keener interest in sweet dishes. A significant segment of the market is now held by 18-25 year olds, with those older also holding a more significant share than previously. Students and young professionals tend to follow trends more closely, with the help of social media, and for that reason more readily latch onto the latest trends in desserts and therefore want a piece of the pie, so to speak.

Location, location, location…

Desserts have historically tended to sell best in areas of high climate and coastal location and although this is still the case, major cities and even smaller towns are now seeing an increasing market for ice creams and other desserts. Major UK cities including Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool, Leeds and London are reaping the benefits of the upturn in trend. With these cities generally forming the nuclei of all things innovative and trending, the new twists on desserts are being pioneered by these established gastro-hubs and their innovators.

Don’t desert the trends

Caterers should look to follow trends and identify those with the potential for continued growth in the short to medium term, with a view to extended continuity where possible. By supplying to the demand that comes with these trends, an increase in sales volume and revenue is almost a certainty. The key is to recognise the appropriate trend(s) for your market. When this identification is successful it is essential to effectively translate into output. Although trends are often lead by food itself, the presentation and atmosphere are also contributing factors. By choosing alternative serving options, caterers can impressively innovate and make their offer really stand out from the rest of the market. There is now a plethora of products for dessert serving including completely original and unique pieces and, although not the preference of some, the use of pre-existing products utilised in different ways is one of real intrigue. Jars, platters and tiered stands are just a few examples of fairly simplistic ways to make any dessert even more attractive to the consumer.

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