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WILMINGTON, Del. - Fruit and vegetable offerings by quick-service, quick casual, family, and casual dining restaurants are increasing, but foodservice operators are still largely missing opportunities to appeal to their customers' interest in better health -- and to ring up better sales in the process.
That's according to new "5 A Day Foodservice Opportunity Gap" research and analysis presented by the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) at a special 5 A Day Foodservice Summit held late last week in Monterey, Calif.
Hosted by PBH and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the invitation-only summit revealed a wide gap in fruit and vegetable offerings in quick-service, quick casual, family, and casual dining restaurants, "which presents an opportunity for everyone to get what they want -- customers, operators, and fruit and vegetable suppliers," PBH foodservice director Brenda Humphreys told summit attendees.
Opening the conference by offering PBH's "State of the Country" address, Humphreys noted that public health, public policy, and consumer health awareness are converging to create an environment conducive to change among foodservice operators, especially in these dining formats.
"The foodservice industry has been taking a lot of the heat for the obesity epidemic," she said, adding that healthier menu options like fruits and vegetables offer chains a way to get out of the kitchen, or at least the kitchen of public opinion. Likewise, while the foodservice sector offers significant opportunity, it has largely been untapped by fruit and vegetable suppliers, Humphreys said, adding that with almost half of every American food dollar now being spent on food prepared away from home, "the industry can't afford to overlook the market potential that exists in foodservice."