January Emerging Trends

This month: 10 trends for 2014, FDA curbs antibiotics in livestock and more.

Published in FSD Update

10 Trends for 2014

The National Restaurant Association surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs to find out what the “hot” trends are for 2014. It’s been a big year for child nutrition professionals with the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and restaurateurs are feeling the impact as well—two of the 10 trends focus on kids and food.

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Environmental sustainability
  4. Healthful kids’ meals
  5. Gluten-free cuisine
  6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
  7. Children’s nutrition
  8. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Farm/estate branded items 

FDA Curbs Antibiotics in Livestock

Farmers will no longer be able to use antibiotics to make their animals grow bigger, following a new policy put in place by the FDA last month. Farmers have three years to comply. The FDA is asking drug makers to change the labels on their medications to state that they cannot be used as a growth enhancer in animals. While the labeling component is voluntary, the FDA expects drug makers to comply, according to The New York Times. Two of the largest veterinary drug companies—Elanco and Zoetis—have stated they will comply with the policy. 

Hospital Cuts Salt, Pepper on Patient Trays

One hospital in British Columbia is dropping some tray staples in an effort to reduce costs. Items that patients will no longer find on their trays include salt, pepper, tea and coffee. The hospital said these items frequently ended up in the trash. For instance, providing salt and pepper for a year cost the hospital between $3,000 and $5,000, according to the Nelson Star. Tea, including the bag, cups and lids, cost $22,000. That doesn’t mean patients can’t get tea with their meal if they want it. The hospital is working on a way to identify which patients actually want the eliminated items.

Laptops Nixed in Michigan Cafeterias

Howell Public Schools had a foodservice surplus, so the nutrition department wanted to use those funds to purchase laptops to allow students access to a nutrition education program that enables them to track what they are eating as well as their body mass index. The Michigan Department of Education, which oversees spending in the state’s foodservice programs, nixed the idea. “Schools are required to use USDA funds to improve food-service (sic) program delivery. Laptops do not meet the federal regulations,” the state department of education stated in a release to the Daily Press & Argus. Ron Wilson, the district’s superintendent, says enabling students to access the laptops would help the district meet a provision in the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, which requires districts to have a wellness program.

By the Numbers 

36 - The percentage of diners at chain restaurants and fast food locations who read posted calorie counts, according to a new study conducted by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotions. The good news: Those who look at nutritional information often use it to make better-for-you food decisions. Ninety-five percent said they use the information at least sometimes.

$1.50 - The increase in cost to purchase foods that meet a healthier diet, such as fruits, vegetables and fish, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. 

10 - The percentage increase in total sales volume of yogurt shipped through broadline foodservice distributors to foodservice outlets in the year ending in September, according to The NPD Group’s SupplyTrack. Greek yogurt was a major reason behind the growth. 

43 - The percentage of districts that purchased local produce during the 2011-2012 school year, according to the first-ever survey conducted by the USDA regarding farm-to-school efforts. Another 13% said they would participate “in the near future.” The survey said these buy-local efforts invested more than $354 million in farms and their communities.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

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