Article Image 4.pngSource: U.S. Tart Cherry Industry

Today, consumers are treating themselves to dessert more than ever. Eighty-four percent of consumers agree that it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself with baked treats (American Bakers Association[1]), and they are turning the page on traditional recipes. Consumers are now craving adventure and playfulness in baked goods and are actively seeking recipes to achieve this. Consumers now desire dessert mash-ups, the unlikely combinations that blend flavor profiles to create unique sweet treats. In a world of ever evolving mash-up trends, one ingredient has emerged as the desired base flavor in dessert innovations: U.S.-grown tart cherries. 

Tart cherries have withstood the test of time in the world of desserts. Tart or sour cherries have long been a beloved and iconic ingredient for sweet treats, but product developers are now discovering their ability to bring together dessert mash-ups through their versatility and flavor profile.  

Source: U.S. Tart Cherry Industry

Tart cherries are available year-round in a variety of forms- dried, frozen, canned, juice and juice concentrate- which allows the fruit to keep up with growing consumer demand. Montmorency, the most common variety of tart cherries, have a long history of being grown on small, generational family farms in the United States. According to Datassential custom research[2], 92% of consumers prefer a U.S.-grown tart cherry vs. an imported tart cherry given the growing preference of consumers preferring locally grown food and supporting U.S. farmers. Given their premium taste, Datassential reports[3] 22% of consumers are willing to spend extra on baked treats with tart cherries. Whether it be pies, crumbles or cobblers, the tart flavor provides a delightful balance, and the bright ruby-red color adds a mouth-watering pop of color. 

Tart cherries have increasingly become an ideal ingredient to leverage in dessert products for its versatility and flavor profile. See how this red-hot ingredient pairs with some of the most popular dessert flavors.

  • Matcha: Not only does Matcha bring an energizing boost, but its vegetal and grass-like earthy tones complement the sweet-tart bite of the tart cherries.
  • Ginger: Prepare to open the door to a dynamic and invigorating flavor pairing by adding the sweet and spicy taste of ginger to the tartness of cherries.  
  • Vanilla: Indulge in balance by pairing the smooth and subtle sweet taste of vanilla as it heightens the tartness of the cherries.
  • Dark Chocolate: Create a flavor harmony as the tartness of cherries perfectly complements the decadence and slight bitter taste of dark chocolate
rc-upload-1715697564534-3.pngSource: U.S. Tart Cherry Industry
  • Almonds: It’s okay to get a little nuts with flavor combinations. Almonds will elevate the sweet-sour taste of cherries and add a bit of texture for another delightful combination. 
  • Cinnamon: Further embrace the cozy and comfort of tart cherries with the warm and sweet taste of cinnamon.
  • Citrus: Pairing with refreshing and vibrant citruses like yuzu, lemon, or lime, helps bring out the sweet-tart pop to create a distinct tasting experience.
  • Nutmeg: Refresh and comfort your palate by balancing the fruity aroma of tart cherries with the warm coziness and earthy tones in nutmeg.
  • Lavender: Floral meets fruity to create a refreshing taste when pairing the calming sensation of lavender and the fruity tart aroma of the cherries.

Product developers aren’t only reaching for tart cherries for their flavor profile and versatility, but also for their eye-popping natural bright red hue that adds a splash of color to the finished product. U.S-grown tart cherries’ iconic taste and deep natural red color are a result of the high concentration of anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol in the flavonoids family.  To learn more about how tart cherries can reinvent and elevate traditional baked treats and to source U.S.-grown tart cherries for product innovations, visit

[1] American Bakers Association. Life Through the Lens of Bakery. 2022 Consumer Research.

[2] Datassential. Custom Research fielded November 2022, an online survey of 1,500 consumers representing the general population.

[3] Datassential. Custom Research fielded November 2022, an online survey of 1,500 consumers representing the general population.