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Sweetgreen launches dessert with renowned pastry chef

You’ve eaten your vegetables. Now you can have a gluten-free Crispy Rice Treat.
Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Treat
The individually wrapped treats are priced at $2.95./Photos courtesy of Sweetgreen.

Sweetgreen is getting a bit sweeter.

The Los Angeles-based fast-casual chain on Monday announced the launch of a new dessert category. The first offering: a Crispy Rice Treat.

But this isn’t your grandmother’s Rice Krispies Treat. In keeping with Sweetgreen’s emphasis on health, this version is made with organic brown rice, quinoa and puffed millet, butter and roasted sunflower seeds. It is sweetened with honey date caramel. Each is individually wrapped and priced at $2.95.

The dessert was developed by pastry chef Malcolm Livingston II, who is also Sweetgreen’s first-ever Chef-In-Residence, and more dishes are coming. Livingston has cooked in some of the world’s most renowned restaurants, including Noma, Per Se, WD-50 and Le Cirque.  He also has hosted an online cooking series with his 6-year-old daughter Elli, who will also appear in the social media assets for Sweetgreen’s Crispy Rice Treat.

Malcolm Livingston

Chef Malcolm and Elli Livingston.

“Sweetgreen is a brand that values quality of ingredients first, something I admire from a restaurant that serves food on a large scale and it’s what drew me to want to create this dessert with their team,” said Livingston in a statement. Livingston elaborated on the partnership in an Instagram post.

Sweetgreen said nearly 45% of consumers order dessert when dining out, but the chain saw an opportunity to create sweet offerings that are both delicious and healthful, said Chief Concept Officer Nicolas Jammet, who is also a Sweetgreen co-founder, in a statement.

“This is a new category for us and working with Malcolm has been the key to creating a healthy yet craveable take on this nostaligic treat. We hope the Crispy Rice Treat provides a sweet moment for our customers after enjoying some of our more savory dishes.”

Indeed, according to the Technomic Dessert Global Menu Category Report, also released Monday, consumers are eager to experience new products from restaurants, and desserts are a way operators can satisfy that craving.

Globally, 66% of consumers said they would purchase a dessert from a restaurant more often if there were new options they hadn’t tried before, said the Technomic report. Technomic is a sister company to Restaurant Business.

Nearly half of customers globally said they would order cheesecake, which was the third most-popular dessert on average from a restaurant, the report found.

And 41% of consumers globally said they would like more vegan or dairy-free desserts on restaurant menus, the report said.

On Nov. 11, Sweetgreen will host Free Dessert Friday offering free Crispy Rice Treats to in-store customers with a minimum purchase of $9.95, while supplies last. In a promotion from Nov. 28 through Dec. 4, digital customers can get a Crispy Rice Treat for $1 with a minimum $9.95 order.

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