This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

June 27, 2001

Leave Room for Dessert

We love to eat sweets, especially dessert. And the dessert tradition is so strong. Most of us remember fondly special trips to the ice cream parlor or the bakery for some fresh, homemade delicacy. Sometimes the trip was in recognition of a special occasion; sometimes it was just a routine experience after family dinner on a certain day of the week. Oh, how we looked forward to those exciting treats! We remember the unique showmanship that characterized some of those independent retailers.

Some of the independents grew over the years, opening more stores or franchising their concept to other independent business owners. Dessert popularity grew as we became more mobile. Instead of just going to the neighborhood sweet spot, now we could travel around the community and even into other nearby towns to broaden our experiences.

Our love affair with those things that we "really shouldn't eat" became an enjoyable part of the meal that was anticipated with excitement and the thrill of discovery of some new creative delicacy. And, look at all those packaged treats in the grocery stores-some frozen and some not. So many choices! Surprisingly, according to industry research, the latest growth trend, is in the full-fat, indulgent dessert sector,. Interest in low-fat and no-fat desserts is waning.

Nutritionists warned about consuming too much from the chocolate food group or the ice cream food group. Sure enough, we gained some extra weight from those delicious calories. Hmmm. Does our increasing attention to diet mean that we're eating fewer desserts? Not really. There is still high interest in desserts, but our shopping patterns have changed.

More people buy desserts at the grocery store. A recent study by the famous Carvel Ice Cream people discovered that the average grocery store surveyed had 22 doors of frozen desserts! People still patronize those familiar ice cream stores, but the chains and the franchises-from TCBY to Ben & Jerry's-have replaced most of the neighborhood independents. In the future, we'll see more small shops with quick convenient service. Expect dessert purveyors to be more nimble, convenient, and responsive to our impulse desserting.

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