The newest Fresh Insights for Foodservice report from the United Fresh Produce Association features baby lettuces, acorn squash, grapes and more, plus a section on how foodservice operators have been adapting their business models in light of COVID-19.
“In this issue of Fresh Insights, we continue to inform and inspire, while also recognizing the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the produce supply chain, specifically those in the foodservice sector of business,” Andrew Marshall, director of foodservice and foundation partnerships for United Fresh, said in a news release.
The report includes comments from restaurants, a university, a school district and a hospital network about how they have adjusted due to the social distancing and other safety-oriented measures put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lesa Holford, corporate executive chef and associate director of culinary for The Ohio State University, said in the report that meals with fresh produce are still available on campus, though transactions have plummeted from about 45,000 a day to less than 1,000 a day.
“We’re offering service via mobile ordering or touch screen, and food is wrapped or packaged,” Holford said in the report. “We continue to offer hand fruit, grab-and-go salads, fruit salad, and vegetables in bowl concepts, such as burritos, pasta and broth bowls, and we’re also offering quarts of fresh-cut fruit for retail sale, such as pineapple and watermelon.
“Additionally, students can purchase a three-meal-bag, getting a day’s worth of food in one stop,” Holford said. “Each bag has breakfast, lunch, and dinner and might include something like pancakes with fresh berries, a sandwich with a hummus/crudité side, and lasagna with a salad and fresh steamed vegetables. These bags typically offer a piece of hand fruit as well.”
Steve Sturm, senior vice president of food and beverage for Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Charlotte, N.C., noted that, like other restaurants, Firebirds is doing only takeout and delivery.
“We’ve reduced the size of our menu and are focusing on items that are popular and travel well, like salads,” Sturm said in the report. “We have reduced some of the vegetables we offer just to ensure we use enough volume to keep our dishes looking great, but we haven’t experienced any challenges getting the variety or quantities of produce that we need. We’ve also added family meal bundles that incorporate fresh produce to ensure a balanced meal.”
The full report can be downloaded from the United website.