The goal had been set during a July 24 invitation-only "Executive Think Tank" discussion of senior foodservice and produce industry leaders that was co-led by PMA president and ceo Bryan Silbermann, National Restaurant Association president and ceo Dawn Sweeney, and International Foodservice Distributor Association president and ceo Mark Allen.
In his opening remarks, Silbermann outlined the five priority areas the think tank participants identified to help achieve the goal of doubling produce use:
1. Re-imagine the restaurant experience, with produce having a stronger presence and telling its story from field to fork;
2. Increase consumer confidence in fresh produce, including product safety, trust and integrity;
3. Demonstrate social responsibility, balancing the needs of people, the planet and profitability;
4. Foster closer collaboration among the industry sectors, including operators, distributors and grower/shippers; and
5. Foster closer collaboration with government and other stakeholders.
"It will now be up to the three associations together to develop a plan for working these five priority areas to help increase use of fresh produce in foodservice, for healthier menus, healthier consumers and ultimately healthier industry," said Silbermann.
The research and think tank project was announced by the three associations earlier this year, as part of a new collaboration to identify opportunities to increase fresh produce use in foodservice to promote healthy lifestyles. The associations expect that these activities will serve as the foundation for future high-level dialogues within the foodservice and produce sectors to find solutions that benefit everyone - consumers, operators and their produce suppliers.
A report summarizing the operator research and think tank's recommendations will be published by the associations and distributed to their members this fall.
Distributors participating in the think tank included:
• Rich Dachman, Sysco Corp.
• Jim Lavender, Ben E. Keith Foods
• John Martin, Martin Brothers Distributing Co.
• Greg Reinauer, Amerifresh
• Roger Toomey, UniPro Foodservice
• Jorge Hernandez, U.S. Foodservice
• Tim York, Markon Cooperative
• Mark Allen, International Foodservice Distributors Association