Portland, OR (December 2009) – A recent independent tracking study by Mintel Research reflects the steady growth of menu items featuring fresh pears on chain menus. Fresh pears have typically been revered as a coveted ingredient among chefs of independent fine dining establishments and deemed a popular seasonal fruit to grace fall and winter menus. Now, to the delight of pear lovers everywhere, fresh pears are appearing on menus from pizza operations to family-style and casual concepts, in appetizers to desserts, in entrees and specialty cocktails.
Salads continue to be one of the most popular dishes starring fresh pears on a variety of menus. The Cheesecake Factory introduced their Weight Management Pear and Endive Salad™ with grilled chicken, a variety of lettuces and tomato, roasted pears, blue cheese and candied pecans chain-wide in 2008 and in addition to featuring pears on pizza on a seasonal basis, California Pizza Kitchen features a field greens salad with fresh pears and candied walnuts tossed in a Dijon balsamic vinaigrette.
Other foodservice chains featuring fresh pear salads, either on a year round or seasonal basis, include Panera Bread, Z Pizza, Cosi, Border Grill, Au Bon Pain, Uno Chicago Grill, McCormick & Schmick, and Gordon Biersch.
There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world, but only a handful of heirloom varieties have been carefully cultivated into juicy, flavorful Northwest-grown USA Pears. Each has a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. The ten major varieties of USA pears have overlapping seasons yielding year-round supply of fresh pears making it easier for menu developers and planners to add fresh pears to the menu or to a signature dish.
For menu inspiration and creative ideas, contact the Pear Bureau Northwest at 503-652-9720 to order a Foodservice Menu Guide or check the website for more recipe ideas and handling information at www.usapears.org.
The Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote, advertise and develop markets for pears grown in the states of Washington and Oregon, under the USA Pear logo. The Bureau represents more than 1,600 growers and 55 packers who produce approximately 84 percent of the nation’s fresh pear crop, and develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution.