Snacks & Candy

Top it Off: The Vital Role Desserts Play in Boosting Sales

supplied by The Hershey Company

It’s an opinion held by many that a meal isn’t really a meal unless it features something sweet at the end. According to JSTOR Daily, the English word “dessert” came about in the seventeenth century, derived from the French verb “desservir.” And while desserts have been around for centuries, their presence in convenience stores right now can do more than invigorate the palate—they can also stimulate sales.

According to Hershey’s 2021 Proprietary Research on Dessert Delivery and Takeout from Technomic, 60% of consumers are likely to order a dessert as an add-on. Call it an impulse buy—which Shopify links to internal factors such as emotions and external factors such as environmental stimuli that encourage impulse buying tendency. Whatever the reason, the impulse and its impact on sales are real, with Hershey’s study finding that adding desserts boosts digital orders by as much as $6. The same study found desserts outpacing total digital order growth by 47%.

So, how do c-stores capitalize on the demand for desserts and encourage consumers to add one to their order? One of the simplest ways is by harnessing the power of brands. Technomic Consumer Insights 2022 found that shoppers are willing to pay up to $1.50 more for branded desserts. Hershey’s study takes it a step further, finding that 76% of c-store consumers say it is important for convenience operators to offer name-brand ingredients in baked goods. The same study found that desserts made with a Hershey item are the branded menu choices more likely to be labeled desirable than their unbranded counterparts.

If desserts boost sales a c-store needs, then offering desserts in a bundle can accelerate that growth even more. The easiest avenue to encourage shoppers to purchase an entree, beverage and confection or a dessert item is by putting it all together, with cookies serving as the most popular add-on dessert item, followed by cakes and brownies. And while cookies are king of the basket bundle, it’s essential not to forget the bars. Hershey’s study found that bundles with bars deliver 15% to 35% incremental growth.

Another opportunity is a cross-category promotion with food service items. Proven offers with a standard bar are $3, $4 or $5 combo deals that include a beverage, a specific food item such a hot dog or sandwich and a candy item. By pairing these items together, retailers will likely see the sales increase they are looking for in-store.

While the desserts in 17th-century France were mostly fruit-based treats and jams, these days, retailers are more likely to capitalize on that last-minute impulse buy with a cookie or ice cream with a Reese’s topping. Retailers can play a part in boosting baskets and sales for their c-store by making desserts a priority in their overall strategy. 



This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company


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