Dessert Series Part Five: Simplicity

August 18, 2014
Consumer Dessert Ingredients Trends

Click here to download the fifth report in our dessert series!

As I think back to our trip, the phrase “simple elegance” keeps popping in my mind! Each stop had its own unique way of including simplicity into their brands and products. The #1 item for me that displayed simplicity, were the macarons! A small little delicate bite, with a burst of flavor—you can’t beat that! The macarons were by far my favorite part of the trip.

During our tour we noticed five clear trends: (click below to view full reports.)

1. Seasonality

2. Comfor & Nostalgia

3. Twists on Classics

4. Local

5. Simplicity



Simplicity is the no-hype return to a less complicated lifestyle. It's the antidote to the myriad of complexities the greet people each day. With life's hectic pace increasing and confidence in the honesty of companies decreasing, consumers are looking for ways to make things easier: They want simple an straight-forward. This quest for simplicity and honesty has consumers scaling back, looking for products they preceive as real, authentic and natural, and looking for companies they feel they can trust. Their back-to-basics approach includes reaching for unadorned items where it's clear they they're getting. No surprises. No hidden agendas. 


550 global new products with "simple" or "simply" in the products' name.

No Additives is the top claim of all global new products launched. 

38% of consumers consider all natural ingredients when making food purchasing decisions.

Simplicity ranked #23 on the NRA's 2014 Culinary Forecast as a Hot Food Trend.

Since 2009, there has been a 125% increase in U.S. new product introductions with "simple" or "simply" in the products' name. 


Salted is the top global flavor with the "simple" or "simply" product claim. 

Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks is the top North American brand with the "simple" or "simply" product claim. 

Taking a look at the simplicity trend on a global scale, it shows that this trend is very relevant in North America, accounting for 57% of all products launched with the "simple" or "simply" claim. Second is Europe with 21% of all products. Food is the top super category in North America and Europe. Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America have more beverage products with this claim.

In North American, new product introductions with "simple" or "simple" in the products' name are definitely on the rise. Since 2009, there has been a 125% increase in "simple" or "simply" new product introductions. The leading food and beverage categories with those claims are corn based snacks, cold cereal, bread and dairy based frozen desserts. 

North America New Product Introductions by Super Category

Global New Product Introductions by Region


The "simple" or "simply" claim is included in products' names and descriptions to convey a variety of different trends. The simplicity of labeling on product packaging is helping consumers cut through the clutter, via simple language and clear and easy to understand packaging. Here are a couple examples of this trend. 

"Simple" Flavor Combos

Happy Baby's Organic Spinach, Mango & Pear Simple Combo is made from a combination of vegetables and fruits, with no added sugar or salt. 

Clean Labels

G.H. Cretors Organic Simply Salted Popcorn is made from purely organic ingredients, is skinny in calories and contains no artificial colors or flavors.

"Simply" Wholesome

Appleways Chocolate Flavored Simply Wholesome Oatmeal Bar is soft baked and wholegrain rich. The cereal bar is made with all natural flavors and contains no preservatives. 

Simplicity of Ingredients 

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Deliciously Simple Vegetable Oil Spread is made with 79% vegetable oil spread. The spread is made with simple ingredients like canola oil, creamy yogurt and a punch of salt. 

Lack of Ingredients

Beech-Nut baby food is described as "a simple ingredient list means you know exactly what;s in each jar." It is also described as real food for babies. "Just real, whole fruits and vegetables are inside our jars. And nothing else."

Healthy Ingredients

Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks: "Every chip in here is bursting with goodness, because we've unlocked the powerful nutrients found in perfect, unprocessed ingredients."


The simplicity trend is also present in estaurants and on the menu. From The simplicity of the operations, menu offerings and ingredients, consumers are intrigued by this concept. It translates to purity and safety. with today's consumers being more label conscious than ever, there is a growing market for foods with simple labels and visibility into calorie counts as well. Some examples of simplicity at its best on the menu are below.

Panera Bread

Announced it will remove all artificial ingredients from its menu by 2016, and this includes artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives; this will simplify its ingredients list. Also, Panera will be removing fats from its bakery items. 

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Reported a 20% rise in cocktail sales, due t the concept of simplifying its menu. management realized that a long list of speciality cocktails was hard on the bartenders, so offering a limited number of drinks, along with detailed explainations of the ingredients chosen and how they are made, helped consumers focus on just a few, well-crafted drinks. This also ensured bartenders to be more likely to offer the mixed drinks. 

Super Chix- Chicken & Fries

In April 2014, KFC's parents company, Yum brands, announced its latest chicken restaurant prototype: Super Chix- Chicken & Fries. The current menu, which is being tested in Arlington, Texas, leans towards "simple": a chicken sandwiches (with customizable toppings); chicken tenders with sauces including smoky honey pepper and Sriracha sweet and sour; fries; cole slaw; Cesear and club salads; and frozen custard are offered at the new test restaurant. This is the second fast casual-esque restaurant experiment from Yum brands; KFC Eleven, which borrows a Chipotle-like assembly line, is still in the testing phase. 

Dickey's Barbeque Pit

Launched new dough products nationwide, starting in september 2013. The artisanal breads are modeled after Dickey's signature rolls, which feature a touch of Southern sweetness and fresh, simple ingredients, the company said. The items include handcrafted buns, hoagies and dinner rolls baked daily in all restaurants. 


Visiting a variety of sweet shops in the city gave us the opportunity to see an array of items sourced touting simplicity. This ranges from simple flavors to simplicity seen in the product packaging and branding. 

Mindy's Hot Chocolate Restaurant & Dessert Bar

Bold simplicity and sophistication with a touch of rustic flair best describes the feeling you get when you walk into Mindy's Hot Chocolate. From their handcrafted marshmallows to their rich and decadent hot chocolate- which are so special it makes you feel like you definitely deserve to indulge. According to their website, "From the moment you walk through the fron door, it is our goal to provide you with an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxed with exemplary service and an evolving array of high-quality, seasonal and locally-sourced food, drink and pastry." I definitely agree! Some of the "simple" but delicious menu items are below:

Warm Donuts: cinnamon sugar with house-made raspberry preserves.

House Infused Milks: flavors available: cinnamon, malt cocoa nib, vanilla bean and burnt honey.

Floriole Cafe & Bakery

Transparency and simplicity were a key trend at Floriole - you could see right into their kitchen and see all of the delicious items being made through a glass window. They are also transparent about the types of ingredients being used. According to their website, "We remain committed to using the best possible ingredients available." They also use organic sugar and flour as well as Valrhona chocolate, European-style butter and cage-free eggs. Some of the "simple" but delicious menu items are below:

Croissants: a traditional buttery, flaky and light pastry. Available in plain, almond, chocolate, chocolate-almond and pistachio.

BLT: you can't get more simple than a BLT- the ingredients are right in the name! Their BLT includes: Bacon, Mixed Greens, Tomato, Aioli on toasted Sourdough. 

Vanille Patisserie

All I have to say about Vanille is one word... Macarons! According to their website, Vanille describes macarons as "the famed Parisian confectionery delivers the essence of a dessert in a single bite." They are exactly right about that. The simplicity of the macaron delivering a burst of flavor in one bite was worth the trip for me. Other areas of simplicity at Vanille were their bitter caramels that melt in your mouth and their individual fruit tarts. Some of the "simple" but delicious" menu items are below:

Macaron: a rainbow of flavors including chocolate, nutella, pistachio, vanilla, raspberry, rose, coffee, caramel, cassis, lavender, green tea, red velvet, mango passion, lychee, coconut & hazelnut.

Fresh Fruit Tart: luscious, fresh fruit tarts and the signature Tart Vanille, a combination of a delicate, vanilla bean ganache, vanilla pound cake and mascarpone mousse with a crispy handmade tart shell. Other selections include the indulgent bittersweet chocolate, esquisite bruleed passion fruit and rustic pear, almond tarts. 

Click here to download the fifth report in our dessert series!



Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market. Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here every step of the way. Contact our Sales Service Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit

Sources: Mintel GNPD, Mintel Menu Insights. Vanille Patisserie, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Floriole Cafe and Bakery