March 01, 2010

Fruit Gains Popularity As Chefs and Operators Seek Healthier Alternatives

Chains Add Volume by Offering Single-Serve Applesauce and Real-Fruit Toppings on Menu Items

Peach Glen, PA—Established fruit-grower owned cooperative, Knouse Foods, observes increased interest in fruit-related products as foodservice operations, especially chain restaurants, add more good-for-you foods to their menu offerings. According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot Chef Survey, nutrition is a leading culinary theme for 2010.

nachosAdding more fruit to the menu appeals to increasingly health-minded consumers and boosts sales with greater meal variety. QSR Magazine lists fruit as the second-leading "good for growth" kid’s side dish for quick-service restaurants, and notes that more restaurants in general are incorporating fruit into appetizers and entrees to appeal to a broader customer base. Knouse Foods further confirms products in demand include real-fruit toppings for dessert pizzas and breakfast items, and single-serve applesauce cups as a side dish or to-go option. Additionally, restaurants are utilizing fruit such as apple slices on salads and sandwiches for the added health benefits and enhanced flavor.

"Fruit is a natural way for chefs and operators to explore flavor and texture for multiple menu parts, while increasing a dish’s nutritional profile. There are so many fruit options, from the classics to the more exotic blends, that inspire creativity and appeal to both adults and children," said Todd Michael, Food Service Sales Manager for Knouse Foods. "Knouse provides an assortment of fruit-related products to meet a variety of foodservice needs, from quick and easy side items to menu innovation and expansion."

Top Knouse products and recipe ideas for restaurants to help meet demand and boost sales include:

  • Single-Serve Items: Portion-controlled, ready-to-eat applesauce cups are packed for freshness and contain a daily fruit serving.
    • Musselman’s Totally Fruit Applesauce: Naturally sweetened with fruit juice concentrate and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Available in apple, peach and strawberry flavors.
    • Musselman’s Home-style Chunky Applesauce: A chunky blend of apples and spice add a slightly tart, bold flavor.
  • Innovative Menu Applications: Boost nutritional value and diversity across meal parts.
    • Apple Salsa: A twist on a patron favorite, this salsa is made with apple sauce making it a perfect complement to chips, vegetables and meats.
    • Caraway Pork and Apples: Sliced apples add tangy and sweet flavors. Serve over noodles with a mustard garnish for a savory finish.
    • Easy Apple Cheese Danish: A simple technique for a quick-to-prepare breakfast pastry that is sweet to eat.
    • Dessert Pizza: A popular concept made with fruit for fuller flavors and menu differentiation.