While 2020 has been the most challenging on record for foodservice operators, consumer demand for fresh, convenient, fruit- and vegetable-rich dishes remains strong. Sponsored by Produce Alliance, the newly released United Fresh Fall 2020 Fresh Insights for Foodservice quarterly report spotlights the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the foodservice industry, including how both consumers and foodservice operators are adapting.
To help foodservice and produce professionals with future menu planning, the report also highlights baby lettuces, mangoes, produce-driven side dishes, acorn squash, grapes, tacos and other new applications for fresh produce in restaurants, retail, home delivery and beyond. Additionally, the report includes a look at how school foodservice professionals are adapting their menus to the pandemic and still providing a variety of fresh produce-centric options.
“The ongoing pandemic continues to create challenges for foodservice operators and supplier partners, and pivoting to meet the evolving needs of consumers is essential,” said Andrew Marshall, director of foodservice and foundation partnerships, United Fresh, in a release. “Produce-centric meals are positioned well to meet consumers’ desires for healthier options, as well as meal solutions for the entire family.”
The Fall 2020 issue provides insights into the latest in fall trends, highlighting cranberries and sweet potatoes, two items frequently found on holiday menus. With colder weather on its way, the report spotlights curries—warming, globally inspired dishes that can serve as a vehicle for a variety of fresh items.
Meanwhile, the On the Horizon section looks ahead, exploring the trends that will impact foodservice next spring, with deep dives into blueberries, celery and fresh fruit tarts. This quarter’s Chain Report covers the latest national account introductions, while Kids’ Table looks at how cauliflower is being featured on kids’ menus.
While the fall report traditionally focuses on back to school, this year’s View from Above section features a report on how K-12 schools have pivoted to continue serving students, whether in-person or remotely. The section features insights from K-12 operators, shining a spotlight on their efforts to continue offering a variety of fresh produce, despite current challenges.
“The leadership of school nutrition professionals during the pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Sarah Grady, manager, U.S. strategic supply chain, McDonald’s Corp. and chair of the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice board. “We’re pleased to highlight several K-12 operators in the latest issue of Fresh Insights, showcasing their continued commitment to offering fresh fruit and vegetables.”
To further explore the fall 2020 issue, the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board will host an interactive webinar on Dec. 2 at noon EST. Registration for the webinar is available at the United Fresh website, which is also where United Fresh members can download the Fall 2020 Fresh Insights for Foodservice report free of charge.