QSR Insights: Want to Sell Desserts? Go Healthier or Smaller

Go Greek or go home. That’s the sentiment from the yogurt giants regarding the new “Healthy and Indulgent” trend: Greek yogurt. This yogurt segment helped rocket previously unknown brands like Chobani and Fage to the top of the yogurt category in market share.

And now, frozen treat chains like TCBY and Ben and Jerry’s, are catching on, turning Greek yogurt into a frozen treat packed with twice the protein and lower in calories than regular ice cream. National retail sales of Greek yogurt more than doubled in 2011 according to Mintel.

As dessert trends go, if it’s going to be a “bad for you” dessert, then make it smaller. Brands like Chili’s have seen the increase in dessert orders by switching from the uber-indulgent, calorie-busting, plate-filling desserts to small, even quaint, portion sizes.

Can the QSR category learn from these fast-growing trends? I think they can. Here are a few ideas that would coax me into pulling a couple extra bucks out of my wallet:

  • Update the formula – Take what you do well in desserts, cut back the sugar content and add healthy benefits like whole fruit or protein powder. We already know healthy options attract a broader customer base like Millennials, so why not extend those to desserts?
  • Reinvent the “Value Meal” – Take your basic desserts, cut the size and offer them as an add-on to the value meal for a smaller price. Two or four ounces of an indulgent treat are a lot more palatable than 12+ ounce gut busters after a large meal.
  • Sell sample platters – People love to try and share desserts. Offer them tiny versions of all flavor varieties…they may just come in outside of mealtimes to check it out.

What other successful dessert trends are you seeing?


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