Blending breakfast in a glass

Amid nutrition concerns, smoothies still sell as full meals.

banana mango smoothie

The first day Pennfield Schools Food Service Director Glenn Noffsinger began offering smoothies during breakfast in January 2015, he served 300 students in half an hour. Many of the students at the Battle Creek, Mich., high school opt for the blended drinks as meal replacements they can sip on their way to class, he says.

As consumers grow more health-conscious, operators are finding the drinkable morning meals appeal to all age groups looking for on-the-go alternatives to breakfast sandwiches. Variety also is a draw. “Smoothies work because you can change them up week to week, they’re fresh, speed-scratch and grab-and-go,” Noffsinger says.

At WakeMed Health & Hospital’s Café 3000 in Raleigh, N.C., manager Chris Carr offers a Tuesday smoothie station where guests can customize the blended drinks with bananas, berries, mango, carrots or kale. Carr started with one blender, but as the lines of hungry customers grew longer, he invested in a second machine for speedier service. He stopped short, however, of expanding service. “Keeping [it to] one day creates a demand for the product,” he says. 

For operators marketing smoothies as meal replacements, add-ins such as protein powder and plain Greek yogurt boost heft and nutrition, sweetening the sell. Fruit juice also is available at Carr’s operation, though seldom requested due to its high sugar content, he says. “We find that most people chose the smoothies for their nutritional content over the sweetness,” says Carr. Still, natural flavor-enhancers such as honey and fresh ginger can be key to converting those who might initially be skeptical about the taste of blended produce alone, Carr says.

Recent reports warning consumers that smoothies shouldn’t replace breakfast daily—including an April article on titled “Should I Eat Smoothies?”—could weigh on sales. But for the 15 percent of Americans who regularly forgo breakfast, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the word from dietitians that smoothies can be an easy way to consume more fruits and vegetables—especially in a rush—and they’re still better than not eating a meal, should keep the appeal alive. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

Industry News & Opinion

After shutting down 265 schools due to ongoing wildfires, the Los Angeles Unified School District kept three schools open on Friday and Saturday to provide meals for students and their families, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At one of the schools, employees and volunteers handed out around 100 meals on Friday and 270 meals on Saturday. The meals included items such as dragonfruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.

Around 80% of students in the district come from low-income...

Sponsored Content
Breakfast chili

From Bush’s Best®.

While decadent plates of French toast and pancakes stacked high will always be breakfast favorites, it’s undeniable that savory breakfast items are on the rise in many foodservice operations. Menu items such as avocado toast and omelets aren’t new, of course, but consumers’ preferences for better-for-you food choices, along with their desire for global flavors, are driving this trend.

According to a recent Technomic Breakfast report, consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of ingredients like soy, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds,...

FSD Resources