Almost two-thirds of people are now eating outside traditional meal times, and with consumer eating habits changing, caterers are being urged to reposition their sweet offering to go beyond traditional dessert and tap into the booming all-day dining market.
New independent research, commissioned by chocolate specialist Callebaut, shows that the traditional three meals a day no longer exist; instead 46% of consumers will eat out mid-morning, with 47% opting for mid-afternoon and 32% eating out late at night.
This shift in eating habits creates a unique opportunity for caterers to generate increased profits by shifting the emphasis beyond desserts as simply a way to round off a meal.
Further results from the research reveal socialising with friends to be the main driving force behind consumers dining out (39%), a trend that Callebaut recommends caterers tap into by introducing sharing platters. Respondents agreed, and said that if sharing platters were added to the menu 65% would be more likely to order a dessert.
Mini tasters were also popular alongside a pick ‘n' mix style dessert with 71% of those surveyed preferring to personalise their desserts.
Robert Harrison, sales director at Callebaut, commented: "With the increasing trend for all-day dining this concept of moving beyond desserts as a third course on a menu is key. Caterers need to be aware of the fact that a slice of cheesecake or a bowl of ice-cream just won't cut it any more. They need to offer a more exciting range of sweets, market them throughout the day and present them in a variation of styles so that they prove too tempting for diners to resist.
For menu inspiration from Callebaut, including tear & share doughballs with dark chocolate sauce (pictured) and chocolate-covered waffle bites, visit www.fortheloveofchoc.com
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