Chains Are Sweet on Mini Desserts

Chains Are Sweet on Mini Desserts

Hot & Cool

Chains Are Sweet on Mini Desserts

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Small-bite desserts have been trending upward for some time now. The Food Channel identified it as a top ten dessert trend in 2010.

Well, it looks like it’s still hot in 2011, and some major restaurant chains are jumping aboard the mini-bandwagon.

Just last month Seattle-based coffee house behemoth Starbucks launched its line of Starbucks Petites. The lineup includes eight items—all with fewer than 200 calories—priced at a mere buck-and-a-half. Among the choices are cake pops (cake on a stick), whoopee pies and lemon squares.

Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks global chief marketing officer, called the minidessert trend “huge,” as reported by Michelle Locke, writing for the Associated Press.  Young-Scrivner says company’s research showed that many customers crave a light snack in the afternoon—a little something to go with their coffee, tea or espresso.

The new downsized desserts kind of fit two eating trends: the “mini treat” trend and the snacking trend.

Minidesserts have found their way onto the menu at Dairy Queen, too, with Mini-Blizzards leading the way. The burger-and-frozen treats chain intro’d the mini 6-oz. version of its trademark Blizzard soft-serve frozen dessert last summer. DQ also hopes to target the afternoon snackers with these little treats.

One smaller chain that has had success with bite-size desserts is Seasons 52, an Orlando, Fla.- based franchise that specializes in fresh and healthy options under 475 calories each. Seasons 52 offers Mini Indulgences with choices such as key lime pie and chocolate and peanut butter mousse. These tiny (3-oz.) treats clock in at 200-300 calories a piece and are priced around $2.50. Senior director of culinary and beverages for the chain, Cliff Pleau, says the company strives to keep the flavors intense, because they only have 3 ounces to get their point across.

Spokesmen for all these franchises offer the opinion that consumers like minidesserts for three main reasons: they’ll tide you over till dinner without filling you up too much, they’re easy on the pocketbook in tough economic times, and they won’t wreck your diet (at least not totally).

Yep, looks the trend to go small is still very big in the desserts category.

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