Transparency and premium are two buzzwords that mean different things to different people. But in today’s competitive foodservice market, both are essential ingredients in winning over growing ranks of consumers. You can help your customers translate these buzzwords into stronger menus by following a few simple strategies.
Provide guidance on “free-from” menu options. Transparency—about ingredients, preparation methods and sourcing—is an important factor in diners’ decision to visit a restaurant. According to Technomic, 47% of consumers believe it’s important for restaurants to be transparent about where they source their poultry, for example.1 But it doesn’t end with poultry: One of research firm Mintel’s predictions for 2018 was that consumers will demand complete and total transparency from food and drink companies.2 Consumers want to feel good about their choices, and restaurants that are up front about these aspects of their business are positioned to win them over.2
As demand for “free-from” menus grows, it has inspired brands like Core Life Eatery, a growing chain of “active lifestyle” restaurants, which promises to source ingredients free from trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, other artificial additives and GMOs. The chicken and steak served in its salads and bowls are free from antibiotics.3 Are your customers are prepared to make such a commitment?
Stress the profit potential of promoting premium ingredients. To consumers, descriptors like “organic,” “no antibiotics ever,” and “humanely raised” signal higher quality, premium ingredients—and they understand these products come with a premium cost, which potentially brings more dollars to your customers’ bottom line. According to the Hartman Group, consumers are willing to pay more for organic food, especially produce and poultry.4 Finding premium ingredients to improve recipes is one step. Encourage your customers to let their guests know about their commitment to premium products by highlighting it on menus, websites and social media.
Help operators navigate the supply chain. Not all suppliers are on the same page when it comes to offering transparency and “clean” products. Working with sources that insist on higher standards is a way for you to help your accounts provide what guests demand. Many consumers, for example, are seeking alternatives to conventional meat products, which are often produced with antibiotics. While many producers have scaled back some of their antibiotic practices, others—such as Perdue, with its Organic Chicken and Turkey with No Antibiotics Ever—have eliminated them entirely.
Perdue offers 100% vegetarian fed chicken and turkey with No Antibiotics Ever – that means no animal by-products, ever. Instead, Perdue chickens and turkeys get protein from soybeans and fats from vegetable oils—mixed with corn and other grains for energy, along with vitamins, minerals and probiotics that help keep them healthy without antibiotics. When it comes to sourcing premium proteins, you can feel confident knowing Perdue Foodservice goes above and beyond to bring your customers 100% vegetarian fed chicken and turkey with No Antibiotics Ever.
Being able to confidently make a claim such as “no antibiotics ever” or “raised on an all-vegetarian-fed diet with no animal by-products” is a way for any operator to better engage consumers aware of these issues. Your skills in matching operators up with suppliers that meet goals like this and are open about their production methods is a way you can ensure they succeed.
1 Technomic, “Poultry well-positioned to gain share of stomach at restaurants,” 4/6/17
2 Mintel, “ Mintel announces five global food and drink trends for 2018,”10/26/17
3 Bowling, Caitlin, New ‘active lifestyle’ restaurant opening next week,” Insider Louisville, 8/27/18
4 Kincaid, Erika, “Hunger for organic food continues to grow,” Food Dive, 8/1/17