For restaurants to have organic produce on their menus, it is important that they be able to make changes accordingly, something that is more difficult for multiple unit chains.
“So it’s pretty much chef-dictated,” he said. “They can look at our price list on a Monday or Tuesday and adjust to that. So, the chef isn’t locked into a menu.”
Superior Produce and Specialties is supplying more lower-grade fruit, Strandquist said.
“I think you’re seeing lesser grades and seeing specialty and organics demand down,” Strandquist said. “It’s still there, but there’s less demand.”
In order to keep costs down and combat the recession, chefs are using more red vegetables and playing around with less expensive items on their plates, Strandquist said.
“Chefs are trying to find ways to reduce their cost of goods,” Strandquist said. “They’re doing more comparisons, pricing out weekly. It’s more competitive.”
There is hope in the restaurant industry, though. Paul Piazza, president of Minneapolis-based Minnesota Produce Inc., said there are a few large-scale construction projects going forward.
“On the west side of Minneapolis, it’s a long way from being completed, but I’m sure there are going to be a lot of restaurants,” Piazza said.