(Oct. 16) HOUSTON — The popularity of world cuisine presents an opportunity for the produce industry and for foodservice patrons looking for more healthful choices.

At an Oct. 13 presentation at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2007, Greg Drescher, senior director of strategic initiatives at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California gave attendees an idea of what they’re likely to see on menus in the near future.

“What’s really happening is a long-term decline in the hold that northern European flavors have on American cooking,” Drescher said. “What used to be on the perimeter, the fringe — Mediterranean, Latin Asian — these are displacing a lot of those northern European flavors.”

This trend toward more worldly cuisine is not just for the next year or so, Drescher said. Expect to see it over the next couple of decades.

Mediterranean diets are nothing new to the culinary scene, but they continually offer opportunities for fresh produce in terms of flavor and healthful options, Drescher said.

Produce also offers an opportunity for foodservice to make more healthful dishes using these world flavors without leaving patrons hungry, Drescher said. The key is to make sure each dish has the taste people are looking for.