No matter how culinary trends may wax and wane, desserts will always have a place on the menu—and some stand the test of time better than others.
Operators are increasingly playing into diners’ cravings for blast-from-the-past desserts by menuing new takes on dessert classics, in part because 46% of consumers tend to prefer the same desserts that they ate as a child, according to Technomic’s 2017 Dessert report. Here are four treats that are making a big comeback.
1. Milkshakes and more
The soda fountain has historically offered a dose of sweet nostalgia, with treats such as milkshakes and egg creams being a hallmark of the “good old days.” The egg cream—which actually contains no eggs, but is a uniquely delicious mixture of chocolate syrup, milk and ice-cold seltzer water—is showing up on menus at eateries such as Moonstruck on Madison, a casual-dining restaurant in New York City, and at Café 50’s, a fast-casual concept in Los Angeles.
As for milkshakes, they’ve been enjoying a moment in the spotlight as piled-high, over-the-top “freakshakes” take over Instagram. But still, the three most popular milkshake flavors are the classics: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
This popular campfire treat is making its way across dessert menus in many forms, from sundaes to brownies to pies. And they’ve experienced tremendous growth: S’mores are up by 88% on menus since last year, according to Technomic’s Dessert report
The classic combination of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows is ripe for innovation or additions—sauces such as HERSHEY’s Chocolate Syrup or HERSHEY’s Caramel Syrup, toppings such as chopped nuts or offering a scoop of ice cream along with s’mores are a sweet way to give this classic a twist. Additionally, consumers share desserts 32% of the time at limited-service restaurants and 43% of the time at full-service restaurants, making shareable skillet s’mores a great option for those diners.
Pie hasn’t ever really gone out of style, so to speak, but retro styles are gaining traction. Chocolate pies, such as French silk, have increased on menus by 5% year-over-year, while cream pies have increased by 4% year-over year, according to Technomic’s Dessert report.
For operators looking to get in on the hype, pies can be offered to suit just about any palate. For instance, pecan pie is a popular classic, and topping it with HERSHEY’S Caramel Topping takes it to the next level. Likewise, it doesn’t get more traditional than apple pie, and it’s a snap to spice it up with HERSHEY’S Cinnamon Chips in this Easy Cinnamon Apple Pie.
4. Dessert pizza
Dessert pizza is another nostalgic trend that’s making its way back to consumers’ plates. Originally launched in 1995, Dairy Queen’s Treatzza Pizza is back on 2018 menus, and features toppings such as REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups and HEATH candy, cookies and caramel or chocolate drizzle. Pizza Hut’s Ultimate HERSHEY’S Chocolate Chip Cookie is another iteration of a dessert pizza—this family-sized treat is perfect for cutting into slices and devouring.
For operators who want to menu their own version, consider topping a chocolate cookie base with tasty options like whipped cream, chopped up HERSHEY’S Kisses or HERSHEY’S Cookies ‘N’ Creme bars, HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup or Fudge, strawberry or HERSHEY’S caramel syrup, and more. Dessert pizzas can also be made with seasonal flavors or with fruit instead of candies—top with cream-cheese icing, white chocolate and sliced fruit. It’s a customizable yet decidedly retro option that guests will love.
Hershey branded desserts drive traffic, sales and your bottom line.
Hershey Foodservice is the industry’s leading branded sweet ingredient, snack and refreshment supplier. They offer a wide range of products that meet your toppings, baking/culinary, specialty beverage and snacks/convenience needs including chips, syrup, fudge, cocoa and chopped candy ingredients as well as impulse sales products like candy, snacks, gum and mints.
When designing your menu, consider consumer daypart preferences for desserts! Market research shows that after lunch and for snacking, consumers are looking for quick, portable options that are sweet, such as chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or milkshakes made with HERSHEY’S Chocolate Syrup. When it comes to after dinner dessert occasions, diners want rich, heavy desserts! Consider a cheesecake recipe made with REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups, or a chocolate cake made with HERSHEY’S Cocoa.
57% of consumers like to purchase desserts with brand-name ingredients at restaurants.*
Hershey Foodservice products are specifically designed to support your kitchen operation, from the packaging to the formats to (of course!) the flavor. Be sure to include Hershey brand names on your menu. Doing so drives traffic, sales, and your bottom line.*
*Technomic Dessert Consumer Trend Report, 2017