Desserts Take Flight

Consumers’ cravings for unique, shareable desserts are paving the way for a new bakery star: dessert flights. While flights are often associated with wine or beer, menu mentions of non-beverage flights increased 5.6 percent last year, according to Technomic.

Beyond satisfying demand for shareable sweets that offer variety, flights—often composed of three to five mini desserts—help bakeries sell lesser-known options. At Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, owner Paula Haney offers pie flights to introduce customers to new flavors.

“Whereas apple pie always sells, people don’t want to commit to buying a whole buttermilk pie—but they will try a slice as one of their flight options. It’s a great way to get more unusual pies out there,” she says.

Dessert flights also help reduce waste. Haney uses excess rhubarb in mini pies for her flight menu, allowing Hoosier Mama to maximize the ingredient across offerings. “We no longer have two cups of rhubarb just sitting around that we don’t know what to do with,” she says.