As consumers continue to become more educated about the foods they consume and how they are produced, transparency is becoming increasingly important. For foodservice operations looking to attract and retain a growing number of health and environmentally conscious customers, offering premium menu ingredients is a necessity.
According to the 13th Annual Food and Health Survey released by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, 20 percent of restaurant patrons said they eat at restaurants with foods advertised as organic, up from 14 percent in 2017.1 The report also found that more than one in three people in the U.S. follow a specific diet plan, with high-protein diets such as keto, paleo, and Whole30 leading the way.1
This a prime opportunity for restaurants looking to establish a reputation for serving fresh, healthy food. Offering premium, high-quality protein options can help restaurants meet consumer demand and increase overall satisfaction.
Datassential’s “ The New Healthy Report” reveals 77 percent of consumers consider antibiotic-free poultry a healthier choice than its counterpart, and 60 percent said the “no antibiotics” label is important to them when dining out.2 Clearly, No Antibiotics Ever chicken and turkey have considerable profit potential in the restaurant space, and although food costs may be higher when there’s a focus on premium ingredients such as antibiotic-free poultry,3 the return on investment in terms of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty can be immeasurable.
Americans are also concerned about animal welfare. Consumers want to know that the foods they are eating have been raised and harvested responsibly; in fact, 67 percent say they would pay more for menu items with verifiable animal welfare standards.4 The Perdue Poultry Care Program establishes a high level of care and comfort for birds. Organic and free range birds are raised on farms that provide fresh-air ventilation, natural sunlight, habitat enrichments such as bales of hay or straw and doors approximately every 50 feet along the chicken house that allow access to the outdoors. Animals have access to large outdoor enclosures with grass, earthen areas, and water, which allows the birds to forage and take dust baths. In addition, associates who handle live animals are provided training, and are required to report any violations of animal welfare policies. The Poultry Care Program encompasses all phases of the supply chain, from breeding to harvest.5
Partnering with a brandlike Perdue brings a level of legitimacy to a restaurant’s health and sustainability claims, allowing operators to increase the profit potential for premium menu items. Calling out attributes such as No Antibiotics Ever can be especially profitable as diners continue to show a preference for “clean” menu choices. To further increase revenue, operators should bring attention to features such as “100% vegetarian fed,” which means the food the animals were fed did not contain any animal by-products; “Never Imported,” meaning that chickens were hatched, raised harvested in the United States; and “Halal certified,” which refers to foods—including poultry—produced and harvested in accordance with Islamic law. All of Perdue’s menu claims are third-party verified to ensure complete trust and transparency.6
These premium ingredients can be menued in countless creative ways. For example, salads are a natural choice for healthy eaters. Technomic’s Left Side of the Menu: Soup and Salad Consumer Trend Reportrevealed that 42 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase and are willing to pay more for salads described as premium.7 No Antibiotics Ever chicken and turkey can be featured on menu items like Asian salads, Caesar salads, Cobb salads, Greek Salads and more. Premium chicken and turkey are also right at home on the sandwich and pasta menus. Think turkey burgers, chicken sliders, chicken Philly cheesesteaks and Tuscan pasta.
Adding premium chicken options to the menu is an excellent opportunity for operators to not only increase profits, but also to show customers they are mindful of animal welfare and supply chain transparency concerns. Not convinced of the sales potential of organic, free-range and No Antibiotics Ever chicken and premium turkey just yet? Consider running these premium options as a daily special or limited-time offer to gauge customer response.