Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Fine as Wine Best of Flavor 2017

Grapefruit + Mint Raspberry Shrub
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When customers at a fast casual can’t get enough of a housemade juice featuring a shrub, it’s a clear indication that mainstream foodservice beverage programs need to evolve with the times. Cava, a Mediterranean concept that’s shown impressive growth over the last few years, introduced Grapefruit + Mint Raspberry Shrub on its spring menu. The refreshing drink starts with a raspberry shrub—that tangy, vinegar-based syrup that’s gained traction on forward-thinking menus recently. The shrub is blended with fresh grapefruit and mint, then sweetened with agave, resulting in a complex flavor profile.

“The overall flavor experience is similar to wine,” says Amanda Gilley, Cava’s Culinary Coordinator. “The vinegar and the grapefruit come together to cleanse the palate, so every bite is as delicious as the first. It starts with a tangy note from the grapefruit, then the cooling of the mint and sweetness of the agave flood in to keep your palate guessing. The shrub finishes with a kick from the vinegar as the ultimate palate cleanser, getting you ready for the next bite.”

The drink is a huge success for Cava. “The flavor combinations and intrigue of the shrub itself is what makes this drink a hit,” says Gilley. “I have had multiple people tell me that they don’t like grapefruit, but they love this drink. It takes you on a flavor roller coaster, while still remaining subtle and refreshing. Our marketing team did an amazing job sharing the shrub story with our customers and making the drink more approachable.”

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