Q&A: Dessert Toppings and Inclusion Trends

December 2020

Frozen treats and ice cream remain the most consumed desserts worldwide, and product developers are finding new opportunities for innovation with indulgent inclusions and natural ingredients that offer clean label and functional benefits.

We talked with Cecile Gauriau, Global Confectionary EUM Manager at Chaucer Foods, about the latest ice cream and dessert innovation trends, including new products, formats and flavors.

1. What trends are you observing in the ice cream and frozen dessert category?

Consumers are snacking more than ever before and are increasingly looking for healthier options that feature simple, recognizable ingredients. These trends are directly influencing the ice cream and frozen dessert category. Smaller portion sizes are appearing on the market, such as mini ice cream sandwiches or ice cream slices, which allow consumers to feel less guilty about indulging.

Consumers are also increasingly looking for more creativity and indulgence in dessert products. While many consumers have their go-to favorite flavors, some just want to try the newest thing, whether that means discovering an unusual taste, a different texture, or a new format. Today’s product developers are continually presenting consumers with a multi-sensorial experience that delivers on their expectations for elevated dessert experiences.

 

2. What new product innovations are you seeing in this market?

Product developers are playing with texture, and adding inclusions and toppings for an extra layer of crunchiness or crispiness. Ice cream and desserts are meant to be a treat, after all, so extravagance in the form of layered toppings and fillings is popular. Our baked ingredients are ideal for giving ice cream toppings a real wow factor. Gingerbread, waffle or doughnut pieces not only deliver interesting textures and decadent flavors, they also give products premium visual appeal.

We have also observed a growing interest in fruit ingredients as a way to add eye-catching color and nutrition to desserts. Fruit inclusions are increasingly appearing in ice creams and in chocolate coatings, taking the place of classic inclusions like almonds or hazelnuts, or working alongside them to provide more vibrant flavor and color. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetable powders can also deliver natural, vibrant colors when incorporated in ice cream.

 

3. Are you seeing any new flavor trends emerge?

Product developers are achieving more sophisticated fruit flavors by pairing classic favorites with complimentary spices and herbs, such as strawberry or apple with cardamom. We are also seeing the rise of cocktail-inspired “boozy” ice creams, like piña colada or mojito, leveraging fruit ingredients for an authentic taste. Coffee- and tea-inspired flavors are also increasing in popularity, offering consumers a slightly sweet alternative to the growing array of super indulgent offerings.

 

4. How is the demand for healthier options and cleaner ingredients impacting new product development for ice cream and frozen desserts?

Today’s consumers are much more conscious of ingredients and nutrition. As a result, many new ice cream and dessert launches feature low-calorie, reduced sugar and free-from claims, as well as added functional benefits like probiotics, proteins and fiber.

Product developers can add functionality, flavor, color and interest to ice cream and desserts in the form of fortified probiotic smoothies and freeze-dried superfoods.​ Not only do freeze-dried ingredients deliver authentic fruity taste, but freeze-drying retains their vibrant color, texture and shape, and provides an ingredient low in sugar, ideal for better-for-you formulations.

 

Our R&D team is constantly developing new application ideas and creating ingredient solutions that add real value for our customers. Learn more about how you can use freeze-dried and baked ingredients in your sweet applications, or contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to request a sample or more information.

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