Aug 30, 2021 - Economy

What the youngs are craving: Pebbley, crunchy, chocolatey mash-ups

Picture of a Duncan Hines cake mix that features Fruity Pebbles and confetti cake.

Screenshot: Axios Visuals

New foods that play on nostalgia and comfort — like "dessert and candy mash-ups" — are the focus of food manufacturers as they cater to the palates of millennials and Gen Z, per the market research firm Mintel.

What's happening: In an article titled, "Trending flavors: co-branding and collaborations in desserts and confections," Mintel's Alyssa Hangartner argues that consumers, particularly younger ones, are seeking out familiar foods from childhood.

  • "Nostalgic flavors and products bring a sense of comfort, in a time when consumers seem more affected by stress than ever before," the article says.
  • "Brands and foodservice operators alike are crisscrossing product categories from soda to cereal to deliver consumers a playful and even somewhat nostalgic experience."

Details: Products that fall in this sweet spot (get it?) include:

  • A confetti cake mix from Duncan Hines that includes Fruity Pebbles-flavored frosting and mix-ins.
  • A frozen dessert from Kraft Heinz called "Kit Kat Colliders Twisted Vanilla Flavored Dessert."
  • An ice cream from Milk Bar that features cornflakes, chocolate chips and marshmallows.

What's next: "Pudding and brownies are perfectly positioned for hybrid innovation," Mintel reports.

My thought bubble: Finally, there's something that young adults and their Boomer parents can agree on.

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