7 Foodservice Trends for Starting Conversations With Buyers
Fresh produce suppliers have so much to share with foodservice buyers attending the upcoming Produce Expo at the PMA Foodservice Conference. That’s because produce use in foodservice continues to grow, especially as healthy eating trends flourish. According to National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, among this year’s top 20 hot menu trends you’ll find:
- Healthful Kids’ Meals – No. 3 on both limited-service and full-service menus,
- Fruit/Vegetable Children’s Side Items – No. 4 on limited-service menus and No. 15 for full-service,
- Lower-Sodium Items – No. 9 on limited-service menus followed by Lower-Calorie Items at No. 10, and
- Children’s Nutrition as a Culinary Theme and Health/Nutrition as a Culinary Theme – No. 5 and 16 respectively with full-service menu trends.
As if that’s not enough of an endorsement for fruits and vegetables, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative (HMC) produce survey of CIA member companies from November to December 2012 finds more.
- All respondents (100%) believe increasing produce use is a long-term trend.
- On average, the goal is to increase produce use by 39% within next two to three years, and has already increased 24% since the HMC was created two years ago.
- Key reasons for engaging in increased produce use include:
- Allows greater culinary creativity/innovation -94%,
- Improves flavor overall – 78%, and
- Increases the perceived quality of an item -78%.
These produce-friendly menu insights create the perfect springboard for connecting with buyers at the Produce Expo. Prepare in advance answers to these trends that demonstrate what makes your product uniquely suited to help foodservice operators satisfy not only the calls for healthy eating, but also demands for new tastes and food sensations that feed culinary creativity. By being versed in foodservice trends and ready with tangible ideas for innovating the plate, buyers will stop and take notice.