Demonstrate respect for consumers’ increasing appreciation of the fundamental role of produce in health and wellness by emphasizing health benefits to customers and on menus.
Chefs as educators: Many consumers remain confused about what constitutes a healthy choice and look to chefs for guidance.
Help these front-line sources pass along straightforward information about the nutritional value of your produce and the measures you take to grow it.
Transparency: Demands for transparency in what happens beyond the kitchen floor are here to stay.
Diners who have access to information about every step of the production process will feel better about where they spend their dollars.
Some will look an inch deep and some will wade into the information. Regardless, sharing your approach to sourcing, food safety programs, recycling efforts and labor practices may all support customers looking for your products — or asking for them by name.
This portrait of the future of foodservice suggests strongly that more change is coming, whether we want it or not. For those of us who lead the charge, the rewards could be significant.
Bottom line: buyers and chefs are being steered toward reducing meat and increasing fruit and vegetable content on menus.
As suppliers of these products, we must continue to educate and share actionable information our customers need to realize these shifts.
Tim York is CEO of Salinas, Calif., Markon Cooperative, made up of eight North American foodservice distributors. Centerplate is a monthly column offering a peek at “what’s now and next” for foodservice and the implications for the produce industry.
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