3 ingredients that appeal to diners with dietary restrictions

By 
Lizzy Freier, Technomic Menu Analysis Managing Editor

health food medicine stethoscope

It is no surprise that gluten-free and vegetarian offerings top the list of healthy items that operators menu to drive sales, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. But operators can enhance these offerings and acknowledge other special dietary needs gaining momentum with consumers, such as vegan and dairy alternatives.

Here are three trending ingredients that can address diners’ dietary restrictions.

1. Aquafaba

aquafaba cake meringue

Aquafaba hits on two trends simultaneously—no-waste and vegan. What looks like murky goop in a can of chickpeas that was once saved for the garbage can actually be used as a vegan alternative to egg whites in a wide range of recipes. Kindred in San Diego uses aquafaba as a fizzy foam atop cocktails; Erven in Santa Monica, Calif., features coffee date cookie sandwiches with cinnamon custard and aquafaba; and Root in Wilmington, N.C., uses an aquafaba-based sour cream and vegan taco meat to top nachos.

2. Jackfruit

jackfruit flesh

As Pinterest’s top predicted trend for 2017, jackfruit is the latest superfood garnering buzz. When cooked and sauced or spiced, jackfruit tastes like and has a similar texture to pulled pork. On the plus side, it cooks faster than the meat does. Even Stevens highlights the fruit in its Jackfruit Torta, a sandwich that started as an LTO and has permanently replaced its other vegan sandwich after outselling it 400 times more in the first month.

3. Farro

farro measuring cup

For those looking for a healthy alternative to rice, look no further than farro. The ancient grain delivers more protein and fiber than brown rice and has high amounts of calcium. Bar Frances in New Orleans swaps out rice for farro in its farro risotto with romesco, grilled squash and eggplant. For a gluten-free alternative, try quinoa, which can also be featured in risotto, like in the Grilled Striped Bass with quinoa risotto at Gemma in Dallas.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources