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How to make sweet snacks work for your restaurant

April 30 2018

Not too long ago, we told you that snacking was on the rise, with Canadians more likely to indulge in a little treat between meals than in recent years.

Well now, separate research has suggested that consumers can’t resist satisfying their sweet tooth when hitting the snacks.

Here, we’re going to tell you how you can find the sweet spot when competing for a share of this uber-appealing snack.

Who enjoys sweet snacks the most?

Unsurprisingly, it was the younger generations that found sweet snacks the most alluring, with 82 per cent of those aged 25-34 and 78 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds leaning towards the sweet stuff. This contrasted with 63 per cent of over-65s.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of the 1,000 consumers surveyed as part of a report published by Smucker’s said sweet snacks were somewhat or very appealing. This made them the most appealing snack type, ahead of healthier and breakfast snacks (69 and 66 per cent respectively).

Do customers want to see more sweet snacks on menus?

Not necessarily, people seem to be happy with the amount of sweet snacks currently on offer.

Just 46 per cent of the survey sample wanted to see more sweet snacks at restaurants, though this proportion was notably higher for 25 to 35-year-olds and Hispanics (61 and 62 per cent respectively).

What types of snacks are consumers ordering most often?

Ice cream. In the report, it was found to be the favorite of every generation except millennials, who preferred cookies.

When asked what kind of snacks they’d eaten in the past three months, 42 per cent said brownies and cake, followed by cupcakes and pie (38 per cent) and frozen yogurt (32 per cent).

What kind of snacks do customers want more of?

Just less than half (46 per cent) of customers said they wanted to see more sweet snacks added to menus.

Instead, they were more keen to be offered healthier or breakfast snacks (64 and 54 per cent respectively). This was followed by regional hispanic and plant-based protein snacks (both 48 per cent).

Barriers to snacking

Consumers won’t kid themselves into thinking that snacks aren’t a naughty indulgence. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can tempt them to treat themselves.

A sweet snack can seem too filling or overwhelming to some consumers if they’re going to be eating it alone, so offering a mini or shareable version can be an effective solution.

Snacks are often viewed as unhealthy, but you can work around this by offering ‘better for you’ snacks. Switch in fruits and other fresh and natural ingredients like cacao and acai or other berries to lend your snacks a more wholesome feel.

Try this recipe

Sugar cookie canapes is one different idea you could try.

Bake some small cookies and flip them upside down, top the upturned bottom with a swirl of frosting then decorate with fruit, nuts, sprinkles or whatever you think will work.

When do people hit the sweet snacks?

The casual nature of snacking means that it can occur at virtually any time, which can make it difficult for chefs and restaurants to plan or prepare.

However, seven in ten consumers are most likely to eat sweet snacks in the afternoon or evening.

In contrast, they’re least likely to hit the sweet snacks in the morning (47 per cent) or late at night (61 per cent).

Restaurants would be wiser promoting sweet snacks as an actual snack instead of as a meal replacement. That’s because the idea of a muffin or ice cream taking the place of a full meal seemed ridiculous to most people though, with just 37 per cent of consumers likely to eat a sweet snack as a meal replacement - lower than every other snack type surveyed.