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  • Glee Hospitality

Just Desserts

From traditional favorites to dairy-free, low-carb options, sweet treats have evolved to become an essential component in modern food trends, particularly in the Middle East, our team of consultants, explains.

 

In the UAE, the popularity of pastries and other sweet treats has always been closely associated with the cultural significance of coffee. The recent specialty coffee craze seen in the region has led to an increase in pastry demand. Every coffee shop is focused on attempting to offer something unique to accompany its specialty coffees.


Latest trends

We have noticed a significant boom in demand for Asian-inspired pastries and desserts. This began with the emergence of brands such as Yamanote, Keki and Moishi and has continued with the launch of companies like Otaku, which serves high-quality Japanese pancakes with a local twist.In the past year alone, many trends have emerged from South Korea. This may be a result of the K-Pop cultural phenomenon and/or increased exposure to shows like Squid Game. South Korea is in the midst of a cultural explosion, and almost all Korean trends are gaining traction.In terms of Korean desserts, we are witnessing greater demand for Korean cakes that feature minimalist design and animal-shaped desserts accompanied by written notes.Overall, the latest desserts originate from South East Asia, with a massive worldwide adoption rate. Flavors include black sesame, matcha, ube purple yam, tea-infused desserts and rice-infused desserts, such as mocha in various flavours and forms, such as muffins, brownies and so forth.Furthermore, the market for desserts that cater to specific dietary preferences has grown. Those adhering to vegan, ketogenic or paleo diets are now able to enjoy a greater selection of dessert products tailored to their individual requirements. Desserts that traditionally required ingredients such as eggs, dairy and sugar have been recreated in recent years by incorporating alternative vegan, low-carb and sugar-free ingredients. This has not only expanded the overall market potential but has also created a more inclusive market that now garners interest from customers who were not able to indulge in such dishes previously.Social media has also been driving awareness and demand for dessert recipes. The boom of the Tiktok platform, stemming from the pandemic era of 2020 to the present day, has seen many Tiktokkers posting dessert recipes that have quickly gained online popularity. These trends, in turn, continue to inspire pastry suppliers and bakeries to ensure their menus stay current, relevant and innovative.

 

Best innovations in pastry

The market for desserts has become far more discerning and quality-driven, which has generated an even greater interest in micro bakeries that focus on high quality, small-batch productions versus mass-produced goods. The quality of ingredients and technological innovations in processing/preparation are now key factors in giving micro bakeries a greater competitive edge in the market. Locally, outlets such as the newly launched artisanal bakery Bageri Form in Dubai Design District is a perfect example of this concept, offering Scandinavian-inspired bakes amid a beautifully designed interior.

 

The icing on the cake

Despite being a highly competitive market segment, the pastries segment still has potential for growth. The trend toward a more health-conscious lifestyle and demand for unexplored ingredients and recipes have paved the way for new pastry offerings that are crafted with wholesome alternatives and/or more exotic ingredients.In addition, social media has created a greater global connection with international trends. Dependence on food delivery apps has created direct access to ordering both convenience pastry goods and artisanal baked selections that may not have been as readily available in the past.

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