What you need to know

Sales of desserts were flat in 2018 at £1.59 billion, with growth held back by concerns about sugar, but also competition from an array of other foods for the traditional occasion. Reformulation is a big challenge, but healthier desserts that do not compromise on taste will win favour and are needed to help increase the frequency of eating desserts.

Most people eat desserts infrequently and the proportion limiting eating them to the weekend or when they have guests is also holding back sales, emphasising the need for innovation in desserts that encourages more people to eat them as everyday treats. As well as healthier versions of desserts, smaller single-serve products have a role to play here, including as lunchtime treats.

While increasing frequency of eating will be important, brands in the market also need to continue to focus on ways of encouraging people to pay more for desserts. Home entertaining will continue to be an important theme of marketing and being indulgent and having the wow-factor when serving to guests will help to give products standout and added value.

Products covered in this report

This Report covers the UK retail market for chilled, ambient and frozen desserts. It excludes sales through foodservice establishments.

  • Chilled desserts include all types of chilled desserts such as dairy-based desserts, chilled custard, fruit compote, mousse, panna cotta, rice pudding pots and (prepared) puddings.

  • Ambient desserts include dessert ingredients (eg sweet condensed milk, evaporated milk, custard, jelly, ice cream accompaniments, tinned fruit, fruit fillings); dessert ready mixes (eg mousse, blancmange, toppings); ready-to-eat desserts (eg RTE custard, RTE jelly, rice pudding, sponge pudding, fruit pots); and ready-to-eat dessert bases.

  • Frozen desserts include for example frozen cakes, sponge puddings, cheesecake, gateaux, Pavlova and traditional puddings as well as frozen fruit.

  • Dessert toppings include dessert sauces, topping syrups, coulis and hot fudge sauce.

  • Shelf-stable cakes and Christmas puddings are excluded.

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