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Tips & Trends

The Popularity of Pie

Expanding pie options on menus can bring more interest and delight in every flaky bite.

Sweet treats remain a beloved indulgence for the 93 percent of Americans who enjoyed dessert in the past week alone1. A perennial classic, pie regularly ranks in the top 5 most menu-ed desserts for operators and #4 by consumers who enjoy the delightful combinations of flavor, fillings, and crust.2

“People’s love
of pie and its versatility across dayparts make it a must-have menu item,” said
Chef Sonja Kehr from the General Mills Foodservice Culinary team. “Thankfully,
there are products such as preformed pie shells that make it easier than ever
to offer a wide variety of fresh-baked pies with ease and minimal labor.”

Foodservice operators looking to enhance dessert programs, offer unique spins on classic dishes and boost all-day sales now have some easy-as-pie options for building out their pie menus.

Enjoy a piece of the pie

Operators interested in taking their pie sales sky high can look to the classics – and trending new favorites. Apple pie, key lime pie, peach, and lemon are the top traditional go-to flavors while fast-growing trends include mud, berry, caramel apple, cherry cobbler and sweet potato pie.3

In addition, to take advantage of some simple and creative tactics to bolster all-day pie sales, operators can:

  • Serve pie dough in a variety of applications across the menu – such as quiches, hand pies, flatbreads, and traditional pies, of course – to entice more diners.
  • Offer pie options throughout the day, with quiche in the morning and more savory options in the evenings. Don’t be afraid to offer classic pies on breakfast menus!
  • Think seasonal: Sales opportunities grow when tied to holidays. Transition from rhubarb and strawberry in the summer to apple and pumpkin in the fall while promoting seasonal selections.
  • Recognize the growing take-out trends and add more pie options to to-go menus, since it is an easy and popular take-out option.
  • Focus on ease of use and convenient preparation to maximize back-of-house labor and minimize waste; prepared pie doughs and crusts are convenient and flexible.

Pie-in-the-sky options

Everyone can have a piece of the pie when operators take advantage of all the versatile ways to bake them – crust on top, an open pie with no crust on top or pie that is topped with a crumble, latticed dough or cream.  There are also so many different crust varieties, from preformed crust to unformed and customizable options that can be crafted into cutouts, shapes, and braids. For example, PillsburyTM 9-inch preformed pie shells, made with lard or vegetable shortening, offer a tender shortbread-like texture in a metal tin with a specially designed slope and lip to increase dough stability and minimize breakage. The neutral flavor works well for both sweet and savory pies. Try this Sensational Strawberry Pie or this savory Vegetable Quiche to get started.

Today, pies are enjoyed at independent and small chain restaurants as well as larger operations and long-term and senior care facilities by fans young and young at heart across the globe. Expanding pie options on menus throughout the day can bring more interest and delight in every flaky bite.

1. “Dessert’s Sweet Spot,” Datasenntial Keynote report, Feb 2019.

2.  Datasenntial Dessert Keynote, 2016.

3. “Dessert’s Sweet Spot,” Datasenntial Keynote report, Feb 2019.