MenuDirections 2013 Day 3: World Cuisines and Menu Trends

The final day of the conference featured tastes from around the globe and a look at upcoming menu trends.

Fernando Acuna, director of food and nutrition, volunteer services and valet services at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, won the sixth annual Steal This Idea contest, sponsored by Simplot. Acuna won an iPad mini. See Acuna’s idea below.

The most difficult time for any family in a hospital is waiting for a loved one to inevitably pass. Keeping this in mind, we provide comfort carts. We deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner to the patient’s room. The family can focus on being with their loved one without worrying about leaving for meals. Caring for the patient’s family at this time is an important expression and a huge success for our organization. We extend compassion and caring beyond the typical hospital setting, and the families are deeply appreciative.

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For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

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Menu Development
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In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

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We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

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