The Unexpected Collab That Takes Your Panera Order Into Ludicrous Mode

It may be the middle of summer, but that isn't stopping people from enjoying the foods that come with a burn. Per Kalsec, approximately 80% of adult consumers in the United States today reach for hot and spicy foods at least once per week, and Fortune Business Insights estimates the global hot sauce market will reach $2.89 billion this year. As a result, it's not surprising that restaurants have been linking up with popular hot sauce brands to crank up the heat on their signature items. Last year, Taco Bell partnered with  Truff Hot Sauce to give its nacho cheese sauce an upgrade. Noodles and Company followed suit with a spicy version of its fan-favorite mac and cheese. 

Not to be outdone, fast-casual chain Panera says it's joining in on the spicy food trend through a new partnership (via QSR). If you've ever thought that your Baja Bowl could use more of a kick, well, you'll have the option to spice up your order starting this week — though, only for customers in one state.

Miami customers can add Yellowbird hot sauce to any entree

Hot sauce fans who have always desired a little more kick to their Panera orders are in luck. The chain has announced that it is welcoming organic hot sauce brand Yellowbird to the mix starting on July 25 — but only for customers at select locations in the Miami, Florida area (via Chew Boom). Panera says customers will be able to upgrade their meal with a special "Ludicrous Mode" option, which adds Yellowbird habanero sauce to their order, free of charge. As part of the collaboration, the chain is promoting a new Habanero Heat Mac & Cheese and Habanero Heat Pepperoni Flatbread. But the sauce can be added to any item on the menu.

At this time, Panera's "ludicrous" offering will exclusively use Yellowbird's habanero flavor, which is described as "versatile, bright, fruity" (per Yellowbird Foods). But don't let the description fool you. Mashed taste testers gave the hot sauce a spice rating of "reeeeal hot," so it's sure to pack some heat. Although Panera did not disclose how long the special upgrade will be available, Miami customers may want to act soon, as it's currently set to be a limited offer (per Chew Boom). As for those outside the Sunshine State, one can only hope this test performs well enough to make its way to more locations.