Drinks Preferred to Eats for Dessert, Say Majority of Americans

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans prefer straws over forks when it comes to dessert, new research suggests.

In a poll of 2,000 adults, 69 percent said they’re likely to order drinkable desserts rather than ones meant to be eaten.

On average, respondents started ordering dessert drinks around the age of 22. But 14 percent did so during adolescence (age 15 or younger).

While one respondent simply wants “an easier way to enjoy dessert,” 44 percent will reach for a dessert drink specifically to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Dessert drinks
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans prefer straws over forks when it comes to dessert, new research suggests.
Josh Castronuovo/Zenger

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tiger Sugar, the poll revealed that 76 percent of respondents claimed to have a sweet tooth.

Four in 5 millennials have a fondness for sweets, more so than any other generation. In fact, 88 percent of millennials like to eat dessert after every meal, compared to only 38 percent of baby boomers.

When asked which foods they’d categorize as desserts, respondents cited a variety of both edible and drinkable options; 44 percent chose ice cream and 35 percent chose custard.

But 34 percent believe milkshakes to be dessert and 26 percent even categorize bubble tea as such.

The most popular non-alcoholic drinks were coffee (65 percent) and water (64 percent), but dessert drinks like milkshakes (58 percent) and bubble tea (54 percent) didn’t fall far behind.

When it comes to flavors, respondents were most likely to prefer traditional dessert flavors, like chocolate and vanilla, compared to fruity ones (29 percent vs. 18 percent).

Even so, 80 percent are likely to add sugar to their drink and another 65 percent are likely to add a shot of flavor.

“By bridging the gap between traditional boba tea with bold, modern tastes, people are finding their new favorite drink,” said Shirley Yeung, a spokesperson for Tiger Sugar. “No matter what their flavor of choice is, people are adding a little sugar and a little sweetness to their lives.”

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of respondents have noticed an increase in the popularity of dessert drinks.

For example, bubble tea gained more attention (28 percent) than other consumable trends mentioned in the survey, like poke bowls (24 percent) or matcha (25 percent).

And when it comes to trying a new trend, respondents said they’d do so because they like to try new things (39 percent) and if it were recommended by family or friends (35 percent).

Forty-eight percent have stood in a line for over an hour to try a trendy food or drink. In fact, almost 7 in 10 (68 percent) admitted they’ve tried a dessert drink to feel “on trend.”

“While drinks like bubble tea have a longer history in Asia and Eastern countries, the U.S. has seen a recent surge in popularity,” said Yeung. “And while people may try a dessert drink to feel ‘on trend,’ they may just find their new favorite.”


  • I like to try new things – 39 percent
  • Thinking I might like it – 39 percent
  • Makes me feel more connected to someone – 35 percent
  • Family or friend recommendations – 35 percent
  • Brings me back to fond memories – 34 percent
  • Seeing it on social media – 32 percent
  • Makes me feel younger – 32 percent


  • Strawberry – 34 percent
  • Mango – 30 percent
  • Black tea – 30 percent
  • Passionfruit – 28 percent
  • Brown sugar – 27 percent
  • Melon – 26 percent
  • Unsweetened – 26 percent
  • Matcha – 25 percent
  • Lycee – 24 percent
  • Taro – 24 percent

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

American dessert poll
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans prefer straws over forks when it comes to dessert, new research suggests.
Josh Castronuovo/Zenger
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