Gen Z and Millennials embrace ‘diverse and unusual flavors’ in desserts and sweets

As a simple comfort to most consumers, the demand for dessert categories was highest in 2020-2021 during the pandemic. Flavor innovation, on the other hand, was less expansive as companies and brands focused on the basics to keep their business afloat.

“The trust, familiarity and nostalgia that underpinned strong sales in 2020 remain key assets for dessert and confectionery manufacturers, as desserts benefit from powerful sensory and cultural associations.”said Michele Scott, associate director of food and beverage at T. Hasegawa.

However, interest in new and unexpected flavors among younger generations is boosting the dessert and candy category, Scott noted.

“Consumers, especially Gen Z and millennials, are also looking for more innovation in taste, health, functionality and, in a context of rising inflation, value in desserts and sweets. Balancing continuity and change for different consumer groups consumers and draw inspiration from various sources – all can help invigorate the category.”

Younger consumers are more likely to be convinced to try a new flavor in a dessert or confection at the mention of ‘international inspiration’, ‘limited time flavor’, or if it is recommended on social media, according to research from 1965 consumers surveyed online.

“Interest in trying more diverse and unusual flavors and ingredients, including from Latin and Asian cuisine, is strong.”T. Hasegawa said.

When it comes to specific dessert flavors, Gen Z and Millennials are much more likely to have tried flavors like red kidney bean, spirulina, gulab jamun, ube, passion fruit, dragon fruit, and marionberry than previous generations.

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