KANSAS CITY — Consumers today love hand-held sweet snacks. And there is no greater evidence of this trend that is sweeping across America than the explosion of demand for dessert donuts.
Dessert donuts are loosely defined as any donut that is made with creative toppings or even decorated like a cupcake.
Melanie Hernandez of La Mexicana Super Market in Wenatchee, Wash., said customers particularly love when their donuts are frosted in creative swirls and designs.
“Once we started decorating our donuts, they sell better,” she said.
Donuts for dessert may be the hottest food trend in the sweet snack category because they serve as a delicious platform for all sorts of creativity — and are perfect for any time of day.
Churros also fit perfectly into this trend because they can be filled with strawberry or cajeta, adding a unique flavor to a sweet snack that can be enjoyed on the go.
Panaderías like Miranda’s Bakery in Woodburn, Ore., are witnessing a huge opportunity to sell more donuts. Miranda’s Bakery is preparing to move into a new location that is three times larger than its current store and, with the move, is planning to introduce a whole new line of donuts.
Previously, the popular bakery sold only one type of donut — sugar donuts — but now plans to offer more than a dozen types of donuts, including old fashioned and apple fritters. Gustavo Miranda, the bakery’s owner, credits BakeMark for helping introduce the new donut line, which is being driven by consumer demand.
Kevin Miranda, the owner’s son, said local customers have been asking their bakery to offer a wider variety of donuts and, with the rising popularity of donut shops across the country, they decided the time was right to make a big move. They plan to offer donuts at a price point between $1 and $2 apiece, which is right in line with what bakeries are selling dessert donuts for across the country.
The first step to creating unique dessert donuts is let your imagination run wild. A perfect example is the widely popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos donut that is being sold at a variety of bakeries this year. The donut can be made with a variety of toppings, such as melted Velveeta cheese and crumbled bits of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos along with candied bacon.
A lot of donut shops are finding success adding popular cereals to the top of glazed donuts and introducing these sweet treats as a unique take on breakfast.
A component of the dessert donut explosion ties into a related trend of consumers wanting to enjoy breakfast foods all day long. Breakfast foods connote comfort to consumers, and yet they are becoming much more adventurous in the flavors they are seeking out.
The all-day breakfast trend has spurred the growth of “hipster-baiting cereal cafes,” according to Packaged Facts, such as a new cereal cafe in New York City that features a do-it-yourself cereal bar with more than 30 toppings.
“This is an age of all-day breakfast selections that can shapeshift their way through the day, multi-purposing for breakfast, lunch, post-work drinks and takeout, dinner and midnight snacks,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Breakfast food menus and retail products can appeal to all budgets, all levels of appetite and all food preferences and dietary requirements.”
For panaderías, bakers can leverage this trend by introducing new flavors and expanding the variety of hand-held breads and pastries.
Pablo Sosa Hernandez, the baker at Su Casa Super Mercado in Hillsboro, Ore., credits BakeMark for helping Su Casa broaden its product line with filled pastries that are made starting with puff pastry sheets that they buy from BakeMark. The puff pastry dough comes in convenient squares and sheets that Mr. Hernandez uses to make fresh bakery pastries that are filled with a wide variety of fruit flavors or Bavarian cream.
Essentially, he can nearly double the number of products offered in the bakery case within the same amount of production time that it would take to make every single product 100% from scratch.
“It saves a lot of time using frozen puff dough because you can make a lot more products in less time using frozen puff dough,” Mr. Hernandez said. “You also save money because you buy only what you’re going to use at a time.”