CHICAGO (PRNewswire) — The latest research from Technomic finds that dessert occasions are evolving in the Canadian marketplace as today's consumers loosen up their definition of "dessert" along with their willingness to eat it.

It's no surprise that most Canadian consumers prefer typical, classic dessert offerings like cake and cookies, but they're also considering an array of nontraditional items — such as coffee, adult beverages and even breakfast items like waffles and pancakes — as appealing dessert options. And they're eating desserts as snacks and as meal replacements, rather than simply as after-dinner treats.

"Consumers are no longer waiting to enjoy dessert after a meal; instead, they're reaching for easily accessible, handheld and portable treats at just about any time of day," says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. "To satisfy the changing needs of these dessert consumers, operators should promote greater variety in terms of affordability, flavour uniqueness and portion size in order to meet a wider range of consumer expectations and preferences."

To help foodservice executives understand consumers' latest behaviours, preferences and attitudes regarding dessert, Technomic has published its Canadian Dessert Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:

  • Consumers cite affordability, quality and cravings as the primary considerations when deciding to purchase dessert, with affordability trumping cravings as a purchase driver.
  • Emotions play a key role in dessert occasions: most consumers say they are more likely to eat dessert when they want to treat or reward themselves (72 percent) or are feeling happy (52 percent). Additionally, 36 percent are driven by a feeling of nostalgia for desserts.
  • Dessert occasions are also influenced by the dining party: 42 percent of full-service restaurant desserts and 31 percent of limited-service restaurant desserts are shared.