Hershey Foodservice wanted to conduct a study that allows operators to prove that branded desserts help drive overall sales, impulse sales, repeat traffic, and create loyal consumers. Given the complexity and rapid evolution of the food industry, the unique demands of consumers, and the changes brought on by COVID-19, Hershey leadership wanted to examine the end customer journey toward branded desserts.

“The coronavirus pandemic added a major complication to the outlook of the foodservice industry and how consumers’ needs and requirements of foodservice will change,” said Al Adams, senior manager of marketing, Hershey Foodservice. “With the foodservice industry changing so rapidly and substantially, we felt it was imperative to thoroughly profile consumer attitudes so that they can be utilized in communicating to operators that the branded dessert is a strong and profitable delivery and takeout option.”

In September 2020, Technomic deployed an online survey of 1,500 foodservice dessert users, nationally representative by age, gender and ethnicity. Key findings were as follows:

  • Consumers have a strong connection toward Hershey’s, which translates to preference in purchase. Consumers have strong brand loyalty and a sentimental connection to the Hershey’s brand. When given a choice between a Hershey’s-branded dessert and an unbranded dessert, consumers overwhelmingly chose the Hershey’s branded dessert.
  • Adding the Hershey’s brand to dessert items helps increase its share in purchases. When price is held constant, the share of preference for each dessert item increases when Hershey’s chocolate is used. It also has an incremental impact in sales as the share of consumers who say they wouldn’t purchase any of the dessert items declines when Hershey’s chocolate is included with an item.
  • Willingness to pay more is higher for desserts made with Hershey’s. Branded items had lower price sensitivity and a higher share of purchases at every price point.

Click here to access all of the findings from the study.