Changes in the dining industry brought about by the pandemic continue to drive the eating habits of diners—desserts included. To align menus to consumer preferences, chefs are creating appetizers, entrées and side dishes that are more health-conscious, vegetable-heavy, internationally inspired and filled with classic comforts. Desserts, too, have been following these industry trends, enabling clubs to boost their member satisfaction from the beginning to the end of their dining experience.
While most diners value flavor over health in choosing a dessert, vegan, plant-based and more health-conscious desserts have been on the rise. Diners are embracing foods that carry an immune boost or health benefits such as vitamin-rich fruit like citrus and berries, apple cider vinegar, dark chocolate, ginger, green tea and turmeric. As diners become more health-conscious, chefs are also adding more sweet vegetables to desserts, such as sweet potato and butternut squash. Desserts are usually known for their high-calorie content; although, subtle changes can bring a lighter and healthier touch. Offering more dessert alternatives will appeal to more diners and leave them feeling good while enjoying healthier choices.
Comfort With a Twist
While navigating a pandemic, chefs witnessed just how vital comfort foods were becoming to diners. The popularity of comfort foods continues to be on the rise as diners are still looking for that sense of familiarity in treats, but with bold and interesting twists. Comforting desserts with a twist, such as s’mores, lemon meringue pie, strawberry shortcake, peanut butter and jelly, Mississippi mud pie, cookies and cream, and trifle, are childhood favorites that provide diners with feelings of nostalgia.
Around the World
Diners are ready for a global culinary exploration, and there has been an influx of chefs using unique ingredients and flavors from different countries. These flavors include moringa, mochi, ginseng, turmeric, ginger, cacao, yuzu and matcha. Using warm spices such as five-spice or aniseed-rich star creates different flavors to classics. The umami flavor has grown in popularity, as it pairs easily with other ingredients. Diners are also looking for more bold and spicy flavors in their desserts such as cayenne, chipotle, anise, rosemary, basil, black pepper, whiskey and smokey.
Desserts are just as important as the first part of the meal—an add-on that can enhance the member experience. The ability easily upsell desserts and aligning dessert menus to consumer preferences and current food industry trends enables clubs to boost both revenue and member satisfaction.