Finding produce’s sweet spot on kids’ menus

05/18/2012 10:07:00 AM
Patrick Hynes

That’s also why collaboration across the supply chain is so important.

First, we cannot create solutions without understanding the challenges from all perspectives.

Second, we are stronger together than when we are alone.

There are tremendous gains to be made for all of us when we unite to discuss opportunities, trends and barriers to increasing fresh produce consumption in foodservice.

Innovative flavor ideas appealing to kids must be among the discussions.

When it comes to foodservice and produce, opportunities to come together as a supply chain are more limited than fruits and vegetables are on kids’ menus.

One place it does happen is at the Produce Marketing Assocation’s annual foodservice conference in July.

I’m glad to know PMA and NRA continue to collaborate on increasing produce consumption in foodservice.

If you’ll also be attending the foodservice conference, here’s my advice: Make sure you can talk to foodservice operators about how your product is a fit for kids’ tastes and menus.

It’s not just full-service operators like Darden. It’s all operators. In fact, for the third consecutive year, healthful kids’ meals ranked No. 1 in hot trends on limited-service menus.

Guess what ranked No. 2? Fruit and vegetable sides in kids’ meals.

I think the word “trend” in this area might be reaching its shelf life.

Healthy meals and fruits and vegetables for kids on restaurant menus are here to stay.

Patrick Hynes is senior director of purchasing for Darden Restaurants, Orlando, Fla., and member of the PMA board of directors.

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