The new face of healthy options

healthy options menu transparency

From Hormel Foodservice.

Healthy used to mean low fat, low calorie or light. But now, consumers are equating health with such attributes as fresh, natural, high protein, high fiber and whole grain, as well as such concepts as authenticity and menu transparency.

Consumers want to know what’s in their food—and what’s not—where it comes from and how it’s made. They want to balance indulgence with sensibility, and to feel good about the choices they make. They want real food.

According to a recent report from Technomic, a majority of survey respondents equated healthfulness with such terms as “real” (54 percent), “organic” (65 percent), “unprocessed” (72 percent) and “natural” (72 percent). In addition, 52 percent said they wanted restaurants to be transparent about menu items.

This is also true in non-commercial foodservice as well. “Students here are more concerned than ever with where their food is coming from,” says Eric Cartwright, executive chef, campus dining services, at the University of Missouri in Columbia (Mizzou). “We’ve found that the more we can tell them about an ingredient or a recipe, the more inclined they are to try it. Telling a story about it makes new menu items an easier sell.”

This strategy has been effective at Mizzou for a variety of different initiatives, from sustainability to the Culinary Discovery Events that take place at the school’s Culinary Development Kitchen. Designed to “unite and educate students through foods,” these programs have included introductions to global food and culture, local Missouri products, and mindful eating.

Such efforts as these are all part of growing demand for more natural ingredients, healthful alternatives and “flexitarian” menuing patterns, where focus on animal proteins is balanced with fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as seeds, beans and grains.

Operators are meeting the demand in a number of ways, using menu transparency to call out such attributes as:

  • Natural, organic and local ingredients
  • Farm-raised products (including meat, poultry, dairy and eggs)
  • Plant-based proteins
  • Grain, bean and legume dishes

One of the breakout ingredients in this trend has been grains; such products as quinoa and brown rice are now widely popular with customers. The all natural HORMEL® FUSE™ Burger delivers on today’s definition of a healthful product by combining lean protein with delicious whole grains, vegetables and fruit.

  • Turkey & Brown Rice: Ground turkey, whole grain brown rice, nutrient-rich spinach, roasted onion and dried cherries
  • Chicken & Quinoa: Lean ground chicken, healthful quinoa and kale, cremini mushrooms and ginger

Operators can serve these fully cooked, gluten-free patties with other healthful ingredients such as whole grain bread, fresh vegetables and sauces that are flavorful, yet sensible, for those looking to keep their fat and calorie intake in check. Or serve with other fresh, natural ingredients such as avocado, artisan cheese and flavor-infused spreads for those seeking a real, natural, delicious food experience.
 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, Md., will be offering free lunch to students for two days during winter break, The Baltimore Sun reports.

This is the first time the district will be providing meals over winter break. The lunch will be served on Dec. 27 and 28 at two sites in the community.

About 22.2% of the district’s students are enrolled for free or reduced-price meals. The district served 66,276 meals last summer during its summer meal program .

Read the full story via baltimoresun.com .

Industry News & Opinion

Cranston School District in Cranston, R.I., has hired a collection agency to help reduce its lunch debt , NBC 10 reports.

The district’s chief operating officer sent a letter to parents saying that the district would be using a collection agency next year to collect outstanding lunch balances after other collection methods have failed. Parents who owe $20 or more and haven’t paid in the last 60 days will receive a letter from the agency starting Jan. 2, 2019.

Cranston accumulated $95,508 in unpaid lunch balances between Sept. 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. The district’s meal...

Ideas and Innovation
hot school lunch

As lunch shaming remains in the national spotlight, many school districts have turned away from providing alternate meals, such as a cheese sandwich, to students who can’t pay for lunch. While this ensures that students are provided a full meal and aren’t stigmatized, it has caused some districts to quickly accumulate lunch debt . In order to keep funds under control, school districts throughout the country are now relying on assistance from their communities to defray the cost of some meals.

1. School lunch fairies

Students at Apollo-Ridge School District in Spring Church, Pa.,...

Industry News & Opinion

When looking for a way to get more use out of its Canyon Cafe, open during the weekends only, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., tried something new: free cooking classes.

Classes are open to students, as well as faculty and staff, and are taught by Campus Dining Executive Chef Michael Albright, according to Mustang News .

The weekday classes, which are capped at 14 participants, have taught attendees how to make items such as probiotic overnight oats and “the perfect turkey.” Interested parties can sign up online via the school’s dining...

FSD Resources