How Innovations in Flavor Science and Technology are Serving-Up Healthier Desserts and Confections

The desserts category is rapidly changing. While consumers have long turned to indulgent foods as a source of comfort and enjoyment, desserts and confections are evolving in the post-pandemic era to reflect shifting consumer preferences, including a heightened awareness of health and wellness.

It comes as no surprise that consumption of desserts and confections spiked sharply during the earliest stages of the pandemic. Whether it’s chocolate candy, ice cream or baked goods – nearly every category of desserts and confections saw a significant bump in sales in 2020 as U.S. consumers sheltered in place and sought comfort and stress-relief in the feel-good familiarity of sweet treats. Interestingly, data shows that sales of these traditional desserts began declining in 2021 as the pandemic threat began to wane and dessert sales have continued this decline through 2022.

Over the past few years, consumers have grown more aware of how a balanced diet is a critical part of their health and well-being. In the desserts category, this often means smaller portion sizes, as a healthier way to enjoy traditional favorites, or it means seeking out exciting new ingredients and flavors that deliver an indulgent experience with minimal calories and fat. Despite increased mindfulness of their health and new economic challenges, consumers still seek indulgence and sweet treats, but their approach to these foods is rapidly changing.

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