If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone about what the best jelly or jam flavor is, you probably know that the debate gets pretty heated. People have very strong opinions about what they put on their toast and biscuits. Die-hard grape fans may scoff at strawberry enthusiasts, while raspberry lovers wonder why those two get so much attention.
With the rise of the growing breakfast segment, especially with the popularity of all-day breakfast, and with it, growth in the use of jelly, the debate has never been more pressing. This is especially true of concepts in which jelly served with so many dishes. Take the Jelly Café in Denver, a restaurant that loves jelly so much it’s in the name, as an example.
“We use Jelly every chance we get—bacon jam on sandwiches, lavender blueberry jelly on pancakes, and raspberry jelly in donuts,” says Josh Epps, the café’s owner. “Jelly is a tricky menu item because it basically is a condiment, it is Batman's Robin,” Epps says.
But jelly isn’t always just a helpful condiment to have on hand; it can be a critical component of a restaurant’s strategy. Jelly choices can actually influence the way customers decide to visit restaurants.
“When we started off, we had all these Jellies stored and piled up trying to have what ever people wanted, but since then we switched to a different jelly everyday witch gave us the control and made it a thing. Now people call in to ask what kind of jelly we have before they come in.”
Restaurants can better serve customers by knowing what their fan bases like. What works for one concept may not work for another. For The Jelly Café, unique flavors are guest favorites.
“Everyone has had raspberry or grape jellies, but we have noticed that our customers are looking for something exotic,” Epps says. “Our most popular Jellies have consistently been our more complex and multi-layered flavors, like Lavender Blueberry, Vanilla Peach, and Basil Berry.
While interesting flavors are always a good point of differentiation, having standard flavors on hand can be a great place to start and can be an easy way to ensure consumers are happy. So what is the number one flavor operators should have on hand? Grape, according to survey data calculated by Statista for the last five years. Americans consumed 2.7 times as much grape jelly as strawberry, the next most popular flavor.
Here are the results of the top jelly flavors in order as calculated by Statista:
But to keep customers truly happy, restaurants should bank on a variety of flavors with wide appeal.