Category Archives: nutrition

2011 Restaurant Trends

As 2011 soon approaches, so too will food-labeling requirements for many restaurants, particularly chains with 20 or more locations. Check out the following foodservice trends as the top 5 that will result from the federal menu labeling mandates.

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2011 promises to ring in nutritious changes at restaurants

United We Salt

There are many things that give me great pleasure in life but the two that I am passionate about is cooking and eating.  In the kitchen, I am the master and the food I cook is only limited by my creativity and pantry of ingredients. On the days where I can’t muster enough energy to even toss a salad, I like to give my body a rest and eat out.

When I go out to some of my favorite steak houses, I’m excited to devour a Prime New York steak and a Baked Potato. But when I’m craving Deli, corned beef and pastrami are my weakness. So when I read that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg was enacting a “National Salt reduction Initiative” aiming to reduce 20 percent of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods over the next five years, I felt pretty agitated.

Yes, a salt initiative – health care reform you can taste! Sure Bloomberg’s reason seems justifiable because we all know a diet high in sodium may lead to heart conditions like high blood pressure, which in turn can become fatal. No one is denying this. But where is the line drawn between what a business owner chooses to serve and personal, freedom of choice? Further, think about this in the practical standpoint—how much salt can you cut out of deli meat before it just tastes like tofu? Creating good food is an art (not an exact science) enjoyed by millions of home cooks and chefs in restaurants alike.

Luckily, this anti-salt crusade is only “voluntary” for the time being.  But this keeps me wondering: how will restaurant owners and other food producers react with such expectations from Big Brother? Is this the beginning of a new health-movement? I am in favor of good nutrition but where do we draw the line?  Regardless, the pressure is definitely on.

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Marketing health: Food that helps lower blood pressure

Do you ever remember Grandma pinpointing the amount of saturated fat those baby back ribs? Or grandpa refusing to eat something because it had tons of cholesterol? Long gone are the days when people ignored food labels. Today health-consciousness has invaded every nook and cranny of the media, and therefore, the restaurant business. We are bombarded with tips on how to eat better, how to lower this, increase that, and avoid the other… But even though food consumption restrictions have multiplied, this is one of those types of knowledge that pay off.

The number of restaurants focusing in healthier choices has increased exponentially in the last decade. Vegetarian, vegan, organic, you name it. So what is the average All-American restaurant to do? Well, this is probably one of the most sought-after information we get from our clients. Even though sometimes it is unfeasible to change entire menus for the sake of health, without sacrificing sales, we can certainly help you accommodate one or two items that bring specific benefits for the consumer.

We approach menu development for a healthy and flavor perspective. Let’s take the case of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is more prevalent among African Americans, adults over 35, people who are overweight, and those who drink heavily. Caring for the community’s health is a way of giving your restaurant some quality exposure. We’ve gathered a few tips that might help you develop healthy menu selections:

  1. Add a couple of items to your menu that have been tested to lower blood pressure.
  2. Take advantage of the American Heart Month –February- and plan a marketing campaign around your health-related efforts.
  3. Make sure your new items are innovative but still delicious. Our Synergy Restaurant Consultants can help you build a perfect dish using whole grains, fish, soy, fruits, low-fat dairy, saffron, cayenne; all have proved to help lower blood pressure.
  4. Seek the help of the local health institutions to promote your restaurant initiatives. Maintain a strong relationship for the sake of a longer-living community.

Remember: a restaurant that puts its customers in the first place, goes a long way. At Synergy we can help create nutritional fact content for your food items, present them with nutrient information, always keeping in mind the excellent food quality, which every restaurant should aspire to serve. Our Consultants have 20 plus years of experience in the recipe development area and can deliver delicious yet healthier versions of fantastic dishes.

I’m sure that would make any modern Grandma very proud.

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