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Canadian diners are sweet on dessert concepts

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Dessert-focused concepts are a force to be reckoned with in Canada. In the past few years, the country has observed a significant growth in concepts focused entirely around a single dessert, ranging from doughnuts to sweet Belgian waffles to creatively topped soft serve.

by Patrick Noone

Here, we will take a look at some noteworthy concepts fueling this sugar-forward trend.

  • Cartems Donuterie, an emerging chain in Vancouver, British Columbia, employs skilled pastry chefs to make doughnuts by hand and from scratch, without the use of premix, stabilizers or preservatives. Specialty varieties offer unique flavours, ranging from Earl Grey to pink lemonade to beer-braised brisket. The concept is poised for growth, having opened its third location this past July.
  • Village Ice Cream, with three locations in Calgary, Alberta, is focused on artisanal, hand-crafted, small-batch ice cream made with local, seasonal and organic ingredients when possible. The concept offers 10 permanent flavours, such as cardamom and toasted coconut. Seasonal varieties are how the concept further differentiates itself, creating unique flavour combinations like Oaxacan chili coconut milk and malt banana Oreo. The buzz surrounding the concept is palpable, often resulting in a lengthy but quick-moving line.
  • Seven Lives, a single-unit taqueria in Toronto, opened up a spinoff dessert bar, called Seven Lives Paleteria, earlier this year. The sweet shop is an ethnic-inspired concept serving up a wide variety of paletas. Flavours are primarily fruit-focused with options like kiwi, watermelon and pineapple, as well as a Fruit Loop-infused variety. Beyond paletas, other specialty sweets are made with vegan soft serve, such as the Dole Whip Float, featuring pineapple vegan soft serve and pineapple juice, garnished with a cherry and paper umbrella.

According to Technomic’s forthcoming 2016 Canadian Dessert Consumer Trend Report, nearly 60% of consumers overall eat dessert at least once a week. This interest in dessert consumption signals a clear opportunity for operators to spotlight sweets and differentiate from competitors. Quality ingredients, eye-catching preparations and unique varieties are key to the success of trendy dessert concepts.

With more than 15 years of experience in the research/consulting industry, Patrick Noone, Executive Vice President, Business Development, is integrally involved in the sales, development and marketing of Technomic’s online resources, reports and custom studies—tools that provide clients with actionable industry data that supports their strategic and tactical business planning processes. He also manages Technomic’s Business Development and Client Service teams.