2009 was a tough year for the restaurant industry, and many operators responded by going back to the basics: streamlining operations and keeping menus simple. New data from the NPD Group supports this strategy, indicating that one of the most effective ways to boost sales is to renew the emphasis on bold flavors.
This is exciting news for growers because the top flavors diners seek are produce items, and fresh produce happens to be an incredibly cost-effective way for restaurateurs to inject flavor into their dishes. Leading the way is garlic, a perennial favorite cited by 36% of diners as the flavor they’d most like to see more in restaurants. At Christopher Ranch, we supply California grown heirloom garlic year-round to answer this call from our restaurant partners. Also appearing on the list are citrus and berry flavors, at 21% and 17% respectively, an encouraging jump from last year’s report.
Industry leaders project that the demand for fresh, great tasting produce will continue to be the dominant menu trend moving into 2010, and the data from the diners themselves confirms these forecasts. As growers, we embrace our responsibility to provide the freshest, most flavorful, and most nutritious produce available. We encourage our colleagues in the restaurant industry to heed foodservice trends and consumer data and source ingredients that deliver the flavor experience diners seek when they eat out.
We wish a happy holiday season to all of our friends and customers, and look forward to an exciting year in 2010!