Last week and over the weekend we participated in three big events: a series of very intense sales meetings for food service, mostly C-stores and colleges and universities, along with some restaurants; Supply Side West, a trade show for suppliers in the industry, and the 6th annual Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, affectionately known as FABlogcon.
This was our second year at FABlog, where we have met some fine bloggers who help get the word out about our desserts, and where last year we were inspired to finally take the step of going nut free.
The message from all three events was loud and clear: celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and food allergies are very real, and not a fad. Additionally, many more people are going vegetarian or vegan for their health and for our planet’s. In fact, turning to a vegan diet may be the biggest food trend of 2018, supported in part by a rise in plant-based proteins, and veganism has increased in the US by 600% since 2014, to 6% of the population. And finally, diabetes is on the rise, too, with 100 million people in the US afflicted with diabetes or prediabetes, and people are looking for good sugar free options in the diet.
As a dessert company striving to meet our mission of being the premier provider of top quality certified gluten free desserts in the country, we struggle with the concept many hold of dessert being just bad for you sweets. But how many people like one of those treats, even a bite, at the end of dinner? A 2016 survey showed that 10% of respondents reported they always order dessert when dining at a restaurant. An additional 40% said they often or sometimes do so. That is half of the people surveyed, and relates just to dining out.
We believe that everyone, including those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, or simply choose to be gluten free, should have access to great tasting, fulfilling desserts. Further, we provide and are building on our vegan options for those with other food allergies, or who have chosen a vegan diet for other reasons. We presented a Vegan Chocolate Cupcake at the food service meetings in Florida, which was well received, and are working on other vegan desserts. We also are going to take the giant leap and look into creating a sugar free line of desserts. Admittedly, we have not had a lot of requests for sugar free, but we do get them occasionally, and it seems like a good time to reduce sugar, or eliminate it, and increase fiber in some of our offerings.
We will not compromise on our high quality ingredients or our exceptional flavor profile. These put us at the top of a list of really very few competing companies. But we won’t sit back and not take note of dietary trends or try to improve so more people can feel good about eating dessert. Stay tuned for future developments! And look for that Vegan Chocolate Cupcake in a 4-pack on Amazon for holidays. Cheers to dessert!