Tom Church (right), partner in Salinas, Calif.-based Church Bros. LLC, receives The Packer's annual Foodservice Achievement Award July 26 from editor Greg Johnson at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference and Expo. Foodservice trends and innovations were the themes of the 33rd annual Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference and Expo.
But we all know they’re elusive or everyone would do them.
Here are a few of the trends we should keep an eye on, according to conference presenters:
- fermented vegetables;
- Nordic cuisine;
- anything resembling food truck fare and/or street food; and
- regional ethnic cuisines.
One is tempted to think some of these are too far out there to be trendy, but then one should talk to The Packer’s 2014 Foodservice Achievement Award winner, Tom Church of Church Brothers.
He was honored for being ahead of many trends in foodservice, and many of them seemed too far out there — until they worked.
Innovation is about taking risks and accepting that many ideas won’t work.
The expo floor featured a few products that qualified as innovative, such as Avocado Green Marble, or trendy, such as the many different cuts of kale and brussels sprouts.
Celebrity chef Jet Tila said several restaurant trends benefit fresh produce. Among them are “familiar dishes with a twist,” which he described as fusion that makes sense. As meat prices remain high, more chefs are making vegetables center of plate with meat as a protein side.
As consultant Julie Krivanek said, a successful innovation must turn an idea into something people will pay for.
Otherwise it’s just an expensive hobby.
Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.