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NPD Group: Dessert Is Disappearing At Dinner Tables Across America

NPD dessert chart

Americans appear to be losing interest in dessert, according to a recently released study by The NPD Group, a leading global information company.

In its 29th annual “Eating Patterns in America Report,” The NPD Group reports only 12 percent of dinners eaten at home include a dessert; that is down from 15 percent a decade ago. The highest dessert consumption that The NPD Group found was in 1986 when 24 percent of all dinners included a dessert.

“If this trend of the past 30 years continues, desserts will be gone from our dinner tables and we are on target to serve the last dessert on Feb. 27, 2054,” said Harry Balzer, SVP and The NPD Group’s chief food industry analyst and the report’s author. “The trend in American homes is about one-dish meals. Americans have been steadily cutting back the number of items served at a main meal and dessert ranks fourth on the list for a meal after the main dish, vegetable and starch. Having dessert makes the whole meal more complicated.”

The top three desserts are fruit, cake and ice cream. All are down over time.

Older Americans, adults over age 65, are the heaviest dessert eaters. They eat dessert at home twice as often as any other age group, but even they are cutting back. For the year ending February 2014, people over 65 ate 76 desserts per person per year at home. In 2000, they ate 104 desserts per person per year at home.

“Dessert adds to the effort of making a meal,” said Balzer. “You have to prepare it and clean up, plus it adds to the cost of the meal. It’s one more thing Americans are learning to do without.

“The French have a saying, ‘let them eat cake,’ just don’t eat it after dinner,” he added.

About the author


Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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