sweet treats

Canadian consumers have a taste for sweet treats

As consumer habits continue to shift and off-premise dining remains a popular option, desserts and sweet treats are making their way onto more and more takeout orders.

According to the 2022 Online Ordering Trends report from Restaurants Canada, this is an ongoing trend, with baked goods taking top spot in the delivery and pickup category for 2021.  

But it’s not just about takeout! Dessert ordering is on the rise across the board, up 3.4 per cent in the last year, and restaurants are embracing this trend with new versions of old classics to attract guests with a sweet tooth.

Frozen sweets are one of the biggest dessert categories, and according to Vince Sgabellone, foodservice industry analyst at The NPD Group, “… that provides a huge template for innovation, new flavours, and variations on a theme.”

From simple to sophisticated, restaurants are addressing the dessert demand with innovative versions of the classics like crème brulée cheesecake and pineapple upside-down milkshakes. “These desserts could be an extension of the comfort-food trend we’ve seen over the last few years,” says Katie Belflower, associate editor at Technomic. 

Deep-fried desserts are also trending, with donuts with a twist, funnel cakes, and churros making their way onto menus.  

What are some of the most-ordered deserts?

The fastest-growing desserts from the last year include lemon cake (up 175 per cent), macarons (up 50 per cent), profiteroles (up 30.4 per cent), carrot cake (up 23.8 per cent), and flavoured cheesecake (up 15.4 per cent). These top choices make excellent in-restaurant choices, as well as translate easily for the off-premise market.

Heading into 2023, experts predict that desserts will take on a global theme, as Technomic’s menu data already shows significant growth over last year for French (up 15 per cent), Latin-American (up 12.8 per cent), and Indian (up 9.3 per cent) flavours.

Right now, desserts are featured on more than 90 per cent of menus. With food costs continuing to affect consumer spending, it will be interesting to see whether this trend will decline, as Canadians do more to save their pennies. Restaurants looking to continue to attract customers and grow their cheque totals will need to be creative in maintaining the demand for sweet treats going forward.  

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