Emerging Trends: May 2013

Petri dish burgers, free school meals and a bacon surplus.

> Bacon Lovers, Rejoice

Bacon enthusiasts were alarmed when Britain’s National Pig Association reported late last year that a shortage was unavoidable due to declining pig herds around the world. But the crisis has been averted. The USDA’s February edition of Hogs and Pigs Report—yes, there is such a thing—found that the pig herd and breeding inventory were higher than expected. So feel free to continue creating bacon-flavored concoctions—here’s looking at you, bacon ice cream. 

> Free Meals for All

All students in West Virginia will eat for free if the state legislature has its way. The lawmakers passed a bill in April that would serve free lunch and breakfasts to all students, regardless of their payment status. This idea is nothing new to child nutritionists, as advocates have long hoped universal feeding would take hold across the country. The problem has always been funding. Advocates of the West Virginia bill think they have an answer: Each of the state’s 55 county boards of education would be required to set up foundations to solicit private donations for the sole use of purchasing food for students. About 53% of West Virginia’s students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. 

> Burgers from a Petri Dish?

Looking for a new source for beef? One day you may be able to look no further than your local university. It sounds far-fetched, but physiologists in the Netherlands are working on a lab-sourced variety. Mark Post and his team at the Maastricht University say they are close to growing a burger, according to Time. Post’s team has already grown small amounts of meat tissue. The process, as one would expect, is a bit technical. It involves extracting cells from an animal and then cultivating and growing those cells into meat tissue. The procedure isn’t cheap and it will likely never be able to mass-produce beef to any degree, but, hey, who wouldn’t want to eat a lab-grown burger?

> Public OK with Limiting Unhealthy Food in Schools

There has been a lot of discussion since last year’s implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act about what types of foods should be served in schools. Students, and some parents, have been vocal in their disagreement over parts of the law mandating healthier foods in schools. But a new survey suggests that sentiment might be changing. In a Gallup Poll conducted in March, two-thirds of Americans said they would vote for a law that would limit the kinds of food that can be served in schools to ensure those items meet certain nutritional standards. When asked about competitive foods—those items sold in vending machines, snack bars and bake sales—fewer people said they would vote for a law mandating healthier options. Fifty-seven percent said they were in favor of such laws.  

37%: The portion of consumers who say they are drinking less specialty coffee today than they did six months ago, according to new research conducted by Technomic for American Express’ Market Briefing. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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Menu Development
brisket beef plate

Just when it seemed barbecue couldn’t get any trendier—it did. More consumers now than in 2014 are looking for a variety of barbecue menu items, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. The demand is up for smoked sausage (+19%), beef brisket (+12%) and beef ribs (+16%) for dinner—a trend noncommercial operators say they are also noticing.

Corporate Executive R&D Chef Jeffrey Quasha at Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare helped launched 50 Liberty Street BBQ microconcept locations throughout the U.S. in December. Due to their success,...

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restaurant patio

We recently started doing patio dining during the summer months, and stole some pointers for upscale barbecuing from local country clubs. We asked our residents who go to country clubs which elements they appreciate.

Ideas and Innovation
email computer screen

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

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