Many have enjoyed revisiting their younger days through food. It was a trend at the start of the pandemic when consumers needed to be comforted, and it continues today.

“Nostalgic desserts, baked goods and snacks will always be important to the US consumers’ repertoire,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight, food and drink, Mintel. “Popular treats such as s’mores have even moved beyond the ‘good old’ to become flavor notes on their own. S’mores ice cream and biscuits, for example, are appearing, as are other baked goods and snacks that have their origins in familiar, nostalgic treats.”

Moreover, trends tend to return every couple of decades.

“I feel like we’ve seen it all at this point,” said John Stephanian, vice president, global culinary and innovation, ADM. “Just like any other trend — fashion, music, whatnot — things kind of circle back every 20 years. I do see that happening in food. Espresso martinis were huge over the past year, and I feel like growing up, I saw that in the ’90s and the ’80s.”

Jasmine Weiser, executive chef at Edwards Dessert Kitchen, Minneapolis, said she sees customers drawn to traditional flavors when the weather turns colder.

“Of course, flavors like pumpkin and spices are always popular this time of year, and at Edwards Dessert Kitchen, we try to incorporate more savory elements like sage in our holiday desserts,” she said. “Desserts that may have taken a back seat for years, like cream pies, are also regaining popularity as consumers are drawn to more traditional recipes and forms.”

And convenience is more important than ever to consumers and is being redefined, said Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI executive vice president and practice leader, client insights.

“We now have seen convenience bifurcated into not only on-the-go but at-home convenience because most of us are tethered to our computers through the day,” she explained. “You’re looking for something you can grab and eat at home as well. Convenience has become huge.”

This article is an excerpt from the December 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Culinary Influences, click here.