Hershey, PA — Dessert consumption is on the rise and nearly 80 percent of dessert occasions include chocolate, according to research from The Hartman Group, Inc. and Technomic, Inc.
Up from 36 percent in 2010, 40 percent of consumers say they're eating dessert after a meal at least twice a week, Technomic finds. Consumers are progressively eating dessert items at nontraditional times as well, including midmorning and midafternoon as both snacks and after meals.
According to the Hartman Group, Inc., dessert consumption is up five percent since 2009, rising in conjunction with growing consumer interest in premium dark chocolate, Hartman finds. Representing $1.3 billion in sales, dark chocolate is outpacing category growth at 7.7 percent, The Hershey Co. reports, citing Hartman.
“We are seeing a consumer trend of more dark chocolate consumption, and that offers an excellent opportunity as we look at our own dark chocolate portfolio,” Vice-President and General Manager of Hershey U.S. Chocolate Jennifer Podhajsky says.
In an effort to capitalize on increasing dessert and dark chocolate consumption, Hershey hosted an event in New York last week in which it suggested occasions for eating dark chocolate. A wine tasting party, workday treat, relaxing ritual, girls’ brunch and family dinner scenarios were depicted in tasting stations at the event.
Technomic finds various occasions like the ones Hershey highlighted and consumers’ need states affect their propensity to opt for dessert — 78 percent of consumers say they are more likely to eat dessert when they want to reward themselves and 60 percent do so when they feel happy. Households without children were also more likely to eat dessert after dinner, according to the Hartman Group, with 49 percent of after-dinner confectionery snackers seeking items that help them relax. Half of after-dinner confectionery snackers want items that “delight” them, compared to 37 percent of early-morning confectionery snackers.