The National Watermelon Promotion Board is reporting success with its foodservice programs this year. ( Courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board )

The National Watermelon Promotion Board is seeing success with programs aimed at foodservice operations.

The board’s foodservice marketing campaign includes working with culinary, marketing, purchasing and nutrition decision makers through media, industry events, promotions, menu discussion sessions and culinary schools, according to a news release from the promotion board. The ultimate goal, board foodservice director Megan McKenna said in a news release, is to get more watermelon on foodservice menus.

Activities this fiscal year include:

  • Culinary Institute of America’s World of Flavor Webcast Sponsorship — the board’s new recipes with videos aired during breaks in the programming of the webcast, hitting record traffic of more than 5,000 live views.
  • Use the Whole Watermelon Foodservice Tour — In April, the board had a farm-to-fork session in South Florida with media and foodservice operators, to educate and inspire them.
  • Another Broken Egg — This 64-location restaurant chain featured watermelons on the menu and promotions included table tents, a webpage, e-blasts and social media tagging the board or using its logo. Fruit sales climbed 126% and fruit substitutes rose 305%.
  • Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Educators annual conference — The NWPB hosted a session on pickling and fermentation of watermelon rinds, with the goal of educators to be inspired by the fruit and use it to educate future chefs.
  • Watermelon Culinary Curriculum — Lesson plans accredited by the American Culinary Federation were launched as a personal development tool for chefs.