Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Campus Home Run University of Massachusetts | Amherst, Mass.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff

Watching flavor trends play out on college campuses is a smart way to see what’s coming down the pipeline. And now, as produce-based cuisine is taking the spotlight, it’s interesting to see the innovations coming out of campus dining. “Plant-forward dishes are quickly emerging as a popular choice among many students, with flavor and healthfulness as the leading reason,” says Christopher Howland, Purchasing/Marketing Director, Auxiliary Enterprises. “The zucchini cake with Greek yogurt is a perfect example of this trend.” This dish is proving to be a very popular menu addition: Whenever they serve it, UMass Dining sells between 1,000 to 1,200 cakes in the four main dining commons. Flavored with cumin, salt and pepper, the 3-oz. zucchini cakes are pan-fried, then served with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt and crumbles of feta cheese. “The flavor is a contrast of savory zucchini, cool tanginess of the yogurt and a salty, creamy punch from the feta,” says Howland. “The serving size is perfect for many of our customers, who prefer smaller portions of a wider variety of items.”

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