Seasonal menus: Indulge in desserts

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Related tags: Cent, Vanilla, Desserts, Pudding, Mintel

SUMMER IS a peak time for puds, and total sales of chilled desserts, such as cream cakes, cheesecakes and trifle, have increased by 40 per cent since...

SUMMER IS a peak time for puds, and total sales of chilled desserts, such as cream cakes, cheesecakes and trifle, have increased by 40 per cent since 2001, to reach a value of just over £390m in 2006, according to new research.

Despite this sweet statistic, there is clearly still work to be done as the study by research body Mintel also shows the overall penetration of chilled desserts among British households has gradually decreased since 2002. It now stands three per cent lower than it did in 2003.

Mintel drew the data from surveys of around 25,000 adults. While the subjects were questioned on household buying habits, rather than consumption in the pub, it does provide an interesting snapshot of demand on which the trade may be able to capitalise.

Cream cakes

Cream cakes continue to make up the largest percentage of sales, taking 30 per cent (£115m) of the market last year. Sponge puddings (11 per cent) and trifle (nine per cent) also feature strongly. Trifle sales increased by 13 per cent between 2004 and 2006.

In the same two-year period, sales of ready-made chilled custard increased by 22 per cent to reach £11m, indicating people are turning to more easy-to-prepare accompaniments to desserts. Mintel estimates that over the next five years, the market will see steady growth of around 20 per cent to reach just shy of £0.5b (£468m) by 2011. It recommends that one way to boost the market would be to revive the patriotic tradition of afternoon teas, a sales opportunity for pubs, clearly.

Commenting on the survey, managing director of Schöller Ice Cream Mike Godwin says: "Dining out is all about 'me time', it's an opportunity to indulge. Chilled creamy desserts are perceived as more indulgent and more sophisticated than the traditional pud, mainly because they can be presented in a more interesting way.

"The research also shows an increase in custard- based desserts but I am confident that this rise is not at the expense of ice-cream."

Pritchitts head of marketing Simon Muschamp also defended ice-cream in light of the results. "Serving soft ice-cream can be really profitable for pubs as the raw materials cost 10p to15p a serving, but that final serving can retail at £2 and above.

"Vanilla is the most popular ice-cream in the UK and should therefore be on all menus. However, by adding extra ingredients to vanilla ice-cream, publicans can charge a premium price."

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