Menu trends from day two of MenuDirections

Blending, sodium alternatives and global influences are highlighted at FoodService Director’s 12th annual conference.

Published in FSD Update

Peter Romeo, Director of Digital Content

Gordon Food Service Corporate Consulting Chef Gerry Ludwig cited several menu currents during his MenuDirections keynote address that didn’t fit within the four pronounced trends he detected during a recent three-city, 92-restaurant dining binge. For instance, he noted, kohlrabi is gaining widespread use in restaurants the way Brussels sprouts did a few years ago. “We saw 18 examples at the 92 restaurants,” he noted.

Similarly, other speakers cited a number of trends in passing. Here’s a quick sampling:

  • Rising meat costs are prompting operators to use more plant-based ingredients as alternatives. The most common replacements are soy, tempeh, tofu, beans and legumes, seitan, quinoa and Greek yogurt.
  • Chefs striving to cut back the sodium in their dishes are using such replacements as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion. 
  • Operators who don’t want to surprise customers with too much spice are citing what chilies they use and how much heat they pack.
  • As Mushroom Council Menu Strategist Steve Solomon put it, “The trend is to blend.” Other speakers cited such examples as combining sweet, savory and spicy components into ingredients like ginger sesame caramel.
  • Similarly, global influences are leading foodservice operators to combine the flavorings of multiple countries or regions into a seasoning of their own invention. For instance aji amarillo from Peru might be combined with masala tea from Kashmir and cassava from Brazil to form something unique.
  • Among the flavors increasingly being used in foodservice is wood sorrel.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Just over 100 foodservice workers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have voted to join a branch of the Service Employees International Union, KIMT reports.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said that 89% of the ballots cast during last week’s election were in favor of unionizing.

The workers are employed by Sodexo, Mayo Clinic’s current foodservice vendor. The clinic recently announced plans to switch vendors to Morrison Healthcare Food Services, a move that has sparked backlash from workers and led to a lawsuit from the SEIU .

Read the full story via .

Sponsored Content
pasta dish from NC State

From Barilla.

Good-for-you food doesn’t do much good if it’s a hard sell to get diners to eat it. Luckily, pasta is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, especially with student athletes who benefit from its nutritional boost.

“One thing about pasta is that students like it,” says Lisa Eberhart, a registered dietician and director of nutrition and wellness for North Carolina State University, where they serve Barilla pasta. “It’s also a great source of slow-burning carbohydrates.”

In fact, 57% of Gen Z consumers and 58% of millennials call pasta a “preferred food,”...

Industry News & Opinion

The Los Angeles Unified School District has lifted its ban on flavored milk in an effort to reduce food waste, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After implementing the ban in 2011, the district noticed that many students would simply throw away their unused milk containers, causing them to end up in landfills. In order to combat the problem, the district’s board is launching a four-part study in 21 schools that will examine different ways to encourage kids to drink more plain milk.

One of the theories proposed is that students will be more likely to drink plain milk if they...

Industry News & Opinion

As Harvard University’s dining staff strike continues , the school has added an extra $25 to student accounts, providing more flexibility for students to eat outside of the dining halls, The Harvard Crimson reports.

The extra funds were added to Crimson Cash and BoardPlus accounts, which students can use to pay for food both on and off campus.

Aside from some technical issues with payment processing, students are grateful for the extra money, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Since the strike began two weeks ago, students have complained about food quality in the...

FSD Resources