With farm-to-table menus a priority for both chefs and diners, vegetables can no longer be an afterthought on the plate. In fact, 80% of consumers believe it's important for restaurants to feature more produce, according to research from Datassential presented during the Produce Marketing Foodservice Conference in July. Here are some other findings:
- 82% of operators believe produce will be more important to their operation in the next few years
- 68% of operators believe produce is important to creating interesting and appealing items
- More than 50% of consumers are more likely to order an item featuring seasonal, local or organic produce
- Kale is the vegetable that has shown the most growth on menus; it has increased 51% in menu mentions over the last year, according to Datassential MenuTrends 2013. Oyster mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, sweet potato fries, roasted butternut squash and beets have also shown strong growth.
- While some of these vegetables are being menued in conventional side dishes, others are showing up in innovative preparations. These include kale chips, shaved or caramelized Brussel sprouts and roasted beet salad.