Asparagus gives restaurants boost

01/27/2012 11:00:00 AM
Jim Offner

“They’ve switched out from the traditional green beans, mixed vegetables, broccoli and then they offer asparagus, sometimes even in an up-charge. Sometimes, they charge a dollar to $2.50 to $3.50 for ‘do you want to sub out your broccoli for asparagus?’ and they’ve been pretty successful doing that.”

Foodservice orders fit nicely in terms of the sizes they require, said Cruz Carrera, asparagus operations director with Oxnard, Calif.-based grower-shipper Mission Produce Inc.

“The foodservice is always good for the off-sizes, the extra large or the jumbos,” he said.

The economy can be a concern in the foodservice business, but even the worst slumps don’t last forever, said James Paul, salesman for Greg Paul Produce Sales Inc., Stockton, Calif., and Altar Produce LLC, Calexico, Calif.

“Europe’s economy is not going to stay down forever. Eventually, we’re going to climb back up, and when that takes place, that’s when you want the philosophy of the foodservice industry to support the health, not necessarily the profit margin, of the country,” he said.


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