A number of commodity boards have come with programs designed to support the foodservice industry.
u The California Avocado Commission, Irvine, supports an active menu promotion program for foodservice chain operators, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing.
This year, 25 chains received marketing support for promoting fresh California avocado menu items and featuring the Hand Grown in California logo on point-of-purchase and other materials and media.
“The commission leverages these promotions to loyal California avocado fans looking for opportunities to enjoy their favorite fruit in restaurants,” DeLyser said.
The California Avocado Restaurant Locator, available at californiaavocado.com, describes the promotion and allows customers to search for the closest store location.
u The California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, was a sponsor of Technomic’s Fast Casual Trends and Directions Conference in Chicago in May, said Chris Christian, the commission’s vice president of marketing.
The conference was devoted to “helping restaurant operators navigate the foodservice landscape.”
“We have ongoing communications with various chains,” she added, and the commission is working on foodservice projects for next year.
u The National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., believes educating chefs about the use of mangoes is the key to increasing volume in foodservice, said Megan McKenna, marketing director.
This summer, the board will offer a mango culinary curriculum to culinary students and instructors as well as practicing chefs.
The mango curriculum, which includes an educational video, will cover selection, ripening, storage, cutting and varieties as well as day part and ripeness level usage, McKenna said. All resources will be available at mango.org/foodservice.
u The National Watermelon Promotion Board, Orlando, is testing a program for possible rollout at foodservice and retail that will pair watermelon and watermelon recipes with wine, said Gordon Hunt, director of marketing and communications.
The program is part of the board’s effort to show the versatility of watermelons.
“People are amazed with what you can do with watermelons,” he said. “They’re more than just a wedge or a garnish on the plate.”
Watermelons are a cost-effective menu item, he said. Hunt also said he expects to see single-serve watermelon offerings in fast-food restaurants and convenience stores within a year, thanks to new packaging and firmer, more long-lasting varieties.