FOODSERVICE TRENDS ARE GETTING HEALTHIER, FRESHER AND LOCAL.

nina | July 31st, 2013 - 9:00 am

Healthy food, more diversity and local produce are among the menu trends that many professional foodservice employers, are currently seeing throughout the foodservice industry, ranging from food retailers to full-service restaurants. 

Approximately 80% of consumers believe it is important for restaurants to feature more produce. And operators are anticipating the future of produce as well: 82% believe produce will be important to their operation in the next few years.

Foodservice menus are also offering an increased variety of authentic world cuisines, as well as a heightened awareness of eating healthy and well.

Consumer said he has also noticed more emphasis on health-conscious food, for both quick- and full-service, and more diversity and frequent change in menu items as customers’ requirements change.

Customers live in an ever-increasing sensory-stimulating world that elevates their requirements for uniqueness. The instant and far-reaching influence customers have over other customers through social media causes their likes and dislikes to be the impetus for rapid responses to their newer and higher expectations. Some consumers have also noticed a trend in touting freshness, as well as sustainability.

We know that among changing restaurant menu and format propositions that several popular formats offer cues to quality which include freshness, or sustainability, both of which are central to produce on the menu.

There is also a  “growing interest in, and proliferation of, seasonal, locally-sourced and heirloom produce varieties, as well as increased demand for, and menuing of, ‘fresh’ items, with ‘fresh’ being defined broadly.

Other interesting menu trend findings from a recent report, Sustainability 2013: When Personal Aspirations and Behavior Diverge, include:

  • In food service and restaurants, menu selections and communications are the foundation of a sustainability halo.
  • Consumers find it difficult to separate the sustainability of a foodservice location/restaurant brand from its food.
  • Consumers tend to think first about the meat products foodservice locations serve when judging their sustainability.  After a focus on meat, narratives of importance to consumers in relation to “sustainable food service” are seafood (e.g., sustainable farming or fishing), produce (e.g., organic, non-GMO, local) and coffee (Fair Trade).

To play a role in driving trends produce companies should have the deep capacity to deliver more customer intelligence to their clients.

Make customers your partners, not just consumers of your product.  Learn from organizations outside your industry; remember, when it comes to the experience created, your competitor becomes every other service provider on the planet.

Source:  smartblogs.com, 7.26.2013

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