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Herb Appeal

With the first signs of Spring also come the first signs of outdoor dining. Consumers emerge from winter hibernation and sip raspberry iced tea in casual, umbrella lined bistros while they nibble on shareable appetizers with friends. They opt for menu items that call out fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and are enticed by LTOs that feature seasonal fare.

Many operators are experiencing success from these fresh offerings. In fact, 24% of operators say they’ve seen a large impact in sales by offering seasonal, spring flavors[1]. The farm-to-table trend has transformed away-from-home dining as evidenced by the addition of rooftop gardens at many trendy, independent restaurants. Having the ability to create a dish made with garden fresh goodness has helped to expand creativity in the kitchen. Operators are experimenting with less familiar produce and herbs to create craveable dishes that differentiate them from their competitors.

Operators who tend their own gardens gain a sustainability halo with their customers which allows them to tout “ultra-fresh, picked today, only steps away” produce. At the same time, they can better manage inventory and minimize waste.

Consumers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) say they are more likely to buy seasonal items and are willing to pay more for them[2]. Some of the mainstay flavors for this spring are[3]:

  • Artichokes – atop bruschetta and pizza
  • Asparagus – stir-fry, charred, kids’ menus (87% increase in incidence)
  • Ginger – adult beverages and in sauces
  • Peas – mashed and spread atop bread, whole in spring pastas
  • Strawberry – paired with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme & mint
  • Zucchini – stuffed “boats” and zucchini noodle “zoodles”

Complement these spring favorites with perfectly balanced herbs and spices, savory layers of garlic and onion combined with fresh, crisp notes of parsley found in our ranch dressing. With so much versatility in this iconic flavor, there are literally thousands of ways to craft a Spring menu poised for oohs and ahhs from your patrons.

This season, we recomend offering Green Goddess Dressing made with fresh avocados, lemon, tarragon and chives. Perfect as a salad dressing, a dip or spread on a sandwich…it has real herb appeal.

[1] Technomic SmartSupport: Driving Traffic With Seasonal Promotions, March 2017
[2] Technomic SmartSupport: Driving Traffic With Seasonal Promotions, March 2017
[3] Technomic Season’s Eatings – Spring 2017

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