( File photo )

For foodservice operators, a new research report shows that Chilean lemons are in the right place at the right time.

The Chilean Citrus Committee, the promotion group for Chilean citrus in North America, has conducted a foodservice research project on the opportunities for Chilean lemons in the sector, according to a news release.

The committee teamed with industry market research firm Datassential for the study, using the research firm’s MenuTrends database of 4,800 restaurants to draw insight on restaurant use of lemons.

In addition, the research also surveyed more than 400 foodservice operators in the U.S., according to the release.

In 2018, Chile exported about 56,000 metric tons of lemons to the U.S. between May and October, and the timing of those shipments aligns with strong lemon demand in the U.S., according to the release.

The release said highlights from the research on lemon use at foodservice include:

  • Top chain operators most often use lemons on spring and summer menus, and operators introduce lemons most frequently in June;
  • Many operators, while not aware of Chilean lemon availability, expressed trust in the quality of fruit from Chile;
  • Better than 96% of fine dining restaurants use lemons on their menus;
  • Quick-service restaurants and fast-casual restaurants have witnessed the highest increase in lemon usage, at 34% and 20% respectively; and
  •  Use of lemons is projected to grow by 5.5% over the next four years. 

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