Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

One Hot Pear Best of Flavor 2017

This Pear is on Fire Spiced pears, dried cranberries, bacon, goat cheese, avocado, spinach, house mix, habanero-honey dressing, candied walnuts

The “artfully chopped salads” that Crushed Red, a salad and pizza fast casual, touts on its menu read like a list of the top trending flavor profiles. One particularly flavor-forward example is This Pear is on Fire, a salad where each ingredient brings a distinct element to the dish. “We started with pears, which are very refreshing, and we decided to dust them with a chile pepper powder. There are five different chiles blended in the dust. It’s intended to be ‘heat and sweet,’ which are forward flavors that are currently in demand,” says Founder/CEO Chris LaRocca.

Candied walnuts and dried cranberries add sweetness, goat cheese brings creaminess and tang, while bacon lends a smoky-salty crunch. And because the bacon is not a focal point, LaRocca calls this a non-protein salad.

The salad started as a six-week limited-time offer, but as soon as the item was taken off the menu, demands to bring it back flooded Crushed Red’s social media. It’s been a fixture for two years since. Even though This Pear is on Fire features trending flavors, LaRocca sees it outlasting the trends. “This is not a flavor of the month. There’s a lot of mileage that goes along with the heat and sweet—it’s timeless.”

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