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Bright Ideas: Colorful Desserts Command the Social Media Stage

Colorful Desserts

37% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z’ers surveyed post pictures of attention-grabbing desserts on social media.1

Millennials and Gen Zers are swept up in a feeding frenzy of social media activity-- so much so that Mintel has dubbed it “a critical component of dining out.”2 According to survey data from the global market research firm, 77% of millennials feed their need for Facebook daily, and 59% of Gen Zers (a.k.a. iGens) indulge in Instagram every day.2

Many of these young consumers have a robust appetite for sharing attention-grabbing fare on social outlets—and it seems the younger they are, the more prone they are to posting. The millennial market is often perceived as the driving force behind the concept of Instagram-driven food and beverages. But while a quarter of millennials surveyed would share an extreme menu item on social media, even more Gen Zers (37% of the survey sampling) would do so.2

The Eyes Have It: Seeing Amazing Desserts Is Believing on Social Media

In particular, visually engaging and unique dining experiences such as brightly colored or over-the-top desserts seem to grab the attention of younger consumers as Instagram-worthy. Having grown up with digital technology as a form of communication and social engagement, they seem conditioned to share these experiences with their social media circles and feed their appetite for likes.

Social media is a powerful engine for generating buzz about new and interesting dessert concepts and broadening the food horizons of young consumers. Two in five Gen Z and one in four millennial survey participants are introduced to foods through social media.3

With survey results showing that 93% of Americans are social media users and 63% of millennials enjoy snapping pics of their food,4 it’s no wonder Mintel identified social media engagement (“Feed the Feed”) as a top trend for 2018.5

The unusual share-worthy quality and visual impact of colorful unicorn beverages, over-the-top milkshakes and on-trend limited-time offers tend to make them well suited for social media feeds.

Set Your Sights on Visually Engaging Dessert Concepts

According to Technomic, a market research firm focused on the foodservice industry, upwards of a third of millennials post pictures of desserts, and young consumers are much more likely than older consumers to respond to visually compelling dessert concepts.6

“Young people are obsessed with colours, food is colourful, which means it creates great still shots,” writes Toronto-based baker and food blogger Deepi Harish.7 “Since smartphone owners and purchasers of photo editing apps and filters are still dominated by youngins, it's almost impossible for this generation to not be able to take salivating photos, upload them to social media and connect with the rest of the world.”7

As social media continues to prompt consumers to eat with their eyes before actually trying a dessert concept, we can expect consumers’ appetite for inventive, virally oriented visual presentations to grow. Think bubble waffle cones filled with rainbow swirl ice cream heaped with cookie crumbles and brownie bits, or layer cake topped with Thai-styled ice cream rolls, gummies and caramel sauce.

No matter what food kind of foodservice establishment you operate, visually dramatic desserts can grab the social media spotlight and extend your reach exponentially. Develop dessert concepts that give consumers an eyeful and your sales may grow into a sight to behold.

1 Technomic, Dessert Consumer Trend Report, 2017, at p. 81.
2 Mintel, Social Media in Foodservice, August 2017.
3 Topper, Amanda, Foodservice Trends 2018, Mintel, 2017, at p. 23.
4 Topper, at p. 22.
5 Topper, at p. 21.
6 Technomic, at p. 14.
7 Harish, Deepi, “#FoodPorn Is Changing The Way Millennials Eat,” Huffpost, Mar. 24, 2017.

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