Research Finds Younger Consumers Have Taste for Branded Desserts

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Research Finds Younger Consumers Have Taste for Branded Desserts

Hershey-branded dessert

HERSHEY, Pa. — If there's one thing younger consumers have on the brain, it's desserts.

Custom research from The Hershey Co. and the Center for Generational Kinetics found that Generation Z and millennial consumers are dessert obsessed and rank it as a top consideration when deciding where to go for food.

An overwhelming number of these consumers (87 percent) admit to thinking about eating dessert one or more times a day, while more than three-quarters (76 percent) think dessert is essential to special occasions.

Other findings reveal that:

  • 47 percent have a restaurant they frequent just for dessert;
  • 55 percent of Gen Z and 54 percent of millennials are more likely to order an item with branded ingredients they recognize; and
  • 52 percent of Gen Z are more likely to order an item with a branded ingredient they ate as a child.

In addition, 70 percent of Gen Z and 63 percent of millennials say they are likely to return to a restaurant where they enjoyed a Hershey-branded dessert to order another, and more than half believe a dessert is higher quality if it has Hershey ingredients, which results in a willingness to pay a premium.

"This research is great news for foodservice operators," said Darren Belnavis, chef for Hershey Foodservice. "There are so many ways to offer on-trend beverages, snacks, desserts and craft cocktails featuring branded Hershey ingredients. For example, operators can create smoothies or indulgent milkshakes with 'Instagrammable' ingredients, offer shareable desserts that allow patrons to taste more than one brand and are portable to take on the go for a mid-afternoon snack."

Social media also plays a significant role in getting the attention of Gen Z consumers who respond to ads along with sharing and "liking" desserts through multiple platforms. Gen Z loves to share its sweet tooth on social media, and desserts are the number one food they photograph. In fact, 46 percent have a picture of a dessert on their phone right now. Ads featuring branded desserts get their attention, as do food videos on YouTube and photos on Instagram and Snapchat, the report found.

"We were excited to partner with Hershey Foodservice on this research. We see across generations that people have a strong affinity for their favorite brands from childhood. The research confirms how the use of branded ingredients in desserts can drive foodservice sales with this important segment of U.S. consumers," said Jason Dorsey, president of The Center for Generational Kinetics