2007 Menu Development study: Footloose and trans fat-free

B&I on top of cutting-edge menu development.

Trans fat, ethnic, organic and local are the hot buttons for operators, but much work remains, according to the FSD's 2007 Menu Development study.

College and university foodservice operations are often heralded for responding more quickly than other segments to emerging customer demands and leading noncommercial foodservice into new frontiers. But FSD's most recent Menu Development Study shows that the Corporate Dining segment (otherwise known as Business-and-Industry, or B&I) is currently on the leading edge of today's hottest industry trends.

For example: 48% of B&I respondents are using trans fat-free frying oils, compared to the noncommercial average of 39%. In addition, 26% of B&I operators have eliminated trans fats from their salad oils, while 10% have stopped purchasing prepared products containing trans fats.

One of the most recent operations to eliminate trans fat is the cafeteria at the Government Printing Office in Washington, DC, operated by Fame Food Management. Carmine Catalano, foodservice director, says that despite the fact that operators aren't required to disclose trans fat content, “we decided to eliminate them altogether; they're just not good for you."

The effort is designed to reduce risk to employees, he adds, in keeping with the growing tendency of corporations to include foodservice in enterprise-wide wellness improvement programs.

A number of other contract management firms also have committed time and money to deal with the trans fat issue. Sodexho recently passed the one-year mark in its effort to go trans fat-free. In addition to switching to zero trans fat (ZTF) oils and shortenings, the company has sourced a large number of trans fat-free products, including salad dressings, sauces, soups, baked goods, condiments, breaded chicken, pasta and tortillas.

Sodexo uses ZTF, rather than trans fat-free, to describe its menu items to bring itself in line with nutritional definitions set down by the Food and Drug Administration. ZTF refers to products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

B&I operators are also sourcing more organic products in three of four product categories, the FSD study shows: Snacks, Meat/Seafood and Dairy. Colleges are the leaders in purchasing organic produce, with B&I a close second in rankings.

And although hospitals are sourcing more local Dairy and Produce and Nursing Homes buy the most local Meat/Seafood, B&I is not far behind in all product categories.

In fact, Bon Appetit Management Company, with 400 accounts in B&I and Education, recently announced that its expenditures on foods and products from local farmers and artisans grew 83% from 2005 to 2006 “far exceed[ing] that of any other foodservice company," says FarmToCollege.org.

Yet, the noncommercial market has yet to embrace each of these trends fully. FSD's study shows that 61% of operators are still using trans fats in frying oils and salad oils, while more than 90% have not eliminated trans fats from baked goods (purchased or made from scratch).

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
coffee shop trailor graphic

A familiar face is coming to the roads of Rutgers University this fall: the Starbucks mermaid. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based school is testing a Starbucks truck throughout the upcoming semester, NJ.com reports . The company began testing trucks on college campuses in 2014, and now has mobile locations at Arizona State University, James Madison University in Virginia, East Carolina University in North Carolina and Sacramento State in California.

The trucks will serve the full lineup of Starbucks beverages that’s available at the outlet’s brick-and-mortar location at Rutgers,...

Industry News & Opinion

A study from Virginia Tech has found a connection between school meal participation and obesity in students. From data that predates the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act , the findings raise questions over whether nutrition standards go far enough.

The research evaluated data from 1998 to 2007, comparing first through eighth grade students who partook in free and reduced-price lunch and those who qualified but opted out. Wen You, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, says she expected to validate theories that increased breakfast...

Industry News & Opinion

Buffalo Public Schools is turning to local chefs and a little competition to help create new menu items, the Buffalo News reports .

In October, local chefs will compete against each other and a team of seven to 10 students led by chef Bobby Anderson, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” to create lunch recipes that comply with USDA nutritional requirements and use seasonal produce sourced locally.

“This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated...

Industry News & Opinion

After being sued by the Services Employees International Union over its decision to change vendors from Sodexo to Morrison, the foodservice arm at Mayo Clinic continues to face backlash from staff.

Foodservice employees at the Rochester, Minn., hospital last week handed over a petition 1,200 signatures deep asking that they remain with their current employer, Fox 9 reports .

While a Mayo Clinic spokesperson said that staff will be given similar positions and pay rates under Morrison, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota—the union representing much of the hospital’s foodservice staff—...

FSD Resources