Restaurants hoping for a sugar high

May 23, 2005

BY LUCIO GUERRERO Staff Reporter

We
went through a low-cal craze in the ’80s, and we’ve experienced the low-carb kick in the years since 2000.

Well, we are now ready to embrace our sweet tooth again: After decades relegated to the back page of the menu, it looks like desserts are back.

That was especially evident Sunday during the annual National Restaurant Association show taking place through Tuesday at McCormick Place.

Lined against the walls of the building were cases and cases — measured in yards, not feet — of sugary goods.

That’s no accident. The rise in desserts comes as more Americans kick their dieting and return to sensible eating habits — even if that means a sweet treat now and again.

Fewer people dieting

According to the NPD Group, a national research firm specializing in people’s eating habits, about 20 percent of Americans were on a diet toward the end of 2004. That’s down from highs of nearly 30 percent in the earlier months of the year.

Even Chicago’s famed Eli’s Cheesecake is putting a new face on some of its original products. This year, in honor of its 25th anniversary, the firm has re-introduced three of its cheesecakes — Hawaiian (pineapple coconut), cinnamon raisin and cherry vanilla — and added a modern look to them.