For many, dessert is the most anticipated meal of the day. For those with a sweet tooth, a decadent dessert is always exciting.
On that note, Technomic recently released its Dessert Global Menu Category Report, which examined consumer preferences and dessert category trends. One of the more intriguing findings in the report was that two-thirds of consumers globally would purchase dessert from a restaurant more often if there are new menu options that they haven’t tried before.
Other, eye-opening findings from the Technomic report:
- 48% of consumers globally would order cheesecake—the third most-popular dessert on average in the world—from a restaurant
- 41% of consumers globally would like to see more vegan or dairy-free desserts on restaurant menus, including 56% of consumers in China
Armed with such knowledge of dessert, how can restaurateurs capitalize? The Food Institute spoke with Mansoor Ahmed, CEO of Heritage Kulfi, an ice cream brand, about what it takes for dining establishments to stand out when it comes to dessert.
What are the opportunities for restaurant and food manufacturers to create dessert options that appeal to today’s consumer?
“The world of desserts is one that’s constantly evolving and a prime space for endless and exciting experimentation. Ice cream enthusiasts are so adventurous. I feel confident that the road to success for manufacturers like myself [entails] being creative and confident in what they offer, and that comes from putting in the hard work during the research and development phase.
“The most satisfying part of creating a new flavor is understanding and embracing the particular ingredient that’s highlighted. Whether it’s saffron threads, mangos, or pistachios, appreciating these great ingredients and utilizing them to their full potential will allow consumers to build connections with them.”
Have you found that different generations prefer different desserts?
“I’m finding that everyone across the board is excited to experiment and try new desserts and ingredients, which is especially exciting for my brand because not only is kulfi (South Asian style of ice cream) new to the mainstream American market, but the particular ingredients I use for certain flavors are also entirely novel. As a brand owner, I find it fascinating that vanilla ice cream continues to be the country’s most popular flavor because it is such a sophisticated and delicate ingredient to work with.
“I will often set up tastings at community events or in-store demos, and connecting this way with consumers is very fun and illuminating. I find that people have such a solid and emotional connection to ice cream, so to build on existing nostalgia or new joyful moments around ice cream is incredibly satisfying to me.”
How have you managed to keep your desserts up to par, in terms of taste, and still be accessible to consumers in today’s economy?
“The food industry continues to be acutely affected by rising costs in nearly every sector, from ingredients and packaging to transportation and labor costs. The onus on premier manufacturers like Heritage Kulfi is to continuously provide our customers with an extremely high-quality and consistent product. Since I use some of the most expensive ingredients such as saffron, pistachios, vanilla, and cardamom, I needed to ensure the ice cream is as accessible as possible for the average consumer in terms of availability and price.
“I’m proud of my efforts during the R&D phase in building local partnerships with farms and other ingredient vendors to support the local and regional business community. Nothing compares to using fresh, high-quality ingredients.”