Dessert Report

Nine things you need to know about desserts in pubs

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

What's new in pub desserts?
What's new in pub desserts?

Related tags Nutrition Marketing Desserts

Consumers are pickier than ever, especially when it comes to foods that are perceived to be bad for health and the waistline. Here are nine things you need to know to put a succesful dessert offer on in your pub.

1) Desserts in decline


Overall volume sales of desserts fell by 19% between 2010 and 2015, according to consumer research company Mintel. While ice cream and sorbet sales fell by 7%.

Mintel says the decline in desserts increased in 2014 to 6% year-on-year and was likely to be linked to the sugar scare, which saw lots of people cut back on treats.

2) Unhealthy impact


Health concerns will continue to hit dessert purchases, with volume sales estimated to fall by 17% in the next five years.

However, the fall in ice cream and sorbet sales won’t be as dramatic and will instead drop by 9%.

3) Not all pubs hit by fall in dessert sales


Sales of desserts in pubs fell by 13% between September 2009 and September 2015.

Jack MacIntyre, senior account manager for UK Foodservice at NPD Group, said: “When we talk about desserts in pubs there is a really marked split between branded chain pubs and independent pubs.”

Branded chain pubs saw an increase in the number of desserts sold by 23%, while independent pubs saw a fall of 48%.

4) Going against the grain


In the fourth quarter of 2014, 36.9% of consumers who had dinner at a pub had a dessert, but by the last quarter of 2015, this had fallen to 33.6%.

This goes against the trend in the wider eating-out market, where dessert consumption is flat year-on-year, according to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s ​sister title M&C Allegra Foodservice’s ​Eating Out Panel.

5) Keeping it cool


In pubs, the most popular dessert items are cold ones, including ice cream, which make up 18.5% of all desserts eaten in pubs.

M&C Allegra’s ​Peter Linden said: “This compares with 16.6% in the wider eating out market, so pub-goers have a bigger appetite for cold desserts than is the case with your average consumer.

6) Potential health benefits can sell


Invigorating a dessert offer by demonstrating the potential health benefits of an item can help boost sales, Mintel suggested.

A large proportion of consumers are now interested in foods that contribute towards their five-a-day (73%) and those that have added vitamins and minerals (63%).

7) Tapping into healthy desire


Brakes foodservice supplier has been aims to top into consumers’ health needs with the launch of its cinnamon and maple Belgian waffle, which has 30% less sugar.

8) Drive your offer around events


Premier Foods’ channel marketing manager Sarah Robb suggested driving using key dates and occasions, such as Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day to boost dessert sales.

9) Average dessert prices (Horizons’ Menurama research)



Average price (pubs)


Ice cream (sundae)



Ice cream






Chocolate (brownie)



Sticky toffee pudding



Chocolate fudge (cake)









Apple (pie)



Cheese (board)


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