Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development
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It’s a difficult time for the foodservice industry, with challenges on all fronts: labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, rising prices on everything affecting operations and patrons’ desire to eat out. But astute chain operators know they can turn to industry experts for results-oriented solutions from product information including tips on handling, storing and usage ideas to menu promotion support to free up valuable resource time and keep ahead of the competition. These industry experts are the Commodity Boards and they may be a National Board or Council, a Federal Marketing Order Board or Committee, or a State Board or Committee.

The purpose of these organizations is to provide a combination of promotion, research, industry information or consumer information activities. They are funded by mandatory assessments on producers or processors and are designed to maintain or expand the markets and uses of the commodity.*

You’ll find a commodity board for just about any agricultural commodity and specialty crop; there are organizations for beef, pork, seafood, produce, nuts, legumes and dairy to name a few. When chains are looking to add new items to the menu, it makes sense for the culinary, purchasing and marketing teams to immerse themselves to learn all about the item’s availability, seasonality, versatility and handling for a successful launch. Availability and seasonality will help determine where and when the item is flowing through the supply chain network. Knowledge of product versatility and handling will extend application of the item across the menu and to ensure proper care of the item to minimize spoilage and waste.

Commission in Action: California Avocados

The California Avocado Commission, the California avocado industry’s research and marketing body, maintains an active foodservice program that supports chain partners with product information, tips and techniques, menu promotion funds and complimentary menu ideation sessions.

Credit: California Avocado Commission


Every year, the CAC foodservice team executes a partnership program for operators that includes menu ideation and marketing funding to drive interest in and adoption of California Avocados on the menu and is in monthly contact with ideas and resources.

To reinforce the California Avocado Commission’s position as an added-value resource for operators looking to add avocado dishes, the foodservice team utilizes culinary ideation sessions to inspire chain culinary professionals with easy-to-execute menu concepts that showcase California Avocado style and appeal.

Recent chain engagements include a contemporary restaurant concept with a menu focus on freshness, variety and culinary integrity, a multi-brand operator with concepts ranging from fine dining to gastropubs to ghost kitchens, and a burger chain whose menu has expanded to appetizers, salads and bowls. For each concept, the CAC team developed up to 20 menu items tailored to each chain’s sourcing, on-hand inventory, operations and labor and supply situations.

Operators with culinary R&D can look to the California Avocado Commission as a preeminent resource to kickstart innovation and energize their menu with California Avocados.

For more information on the California Avocado Commission’s foodservice promotion and menu ideation programs, contact [email protected].


* National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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