Are you wondering what nutrition trends were top of mind at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show? If you’re thinking veggies and reduced-sugar caffeinated beverages, you’re on the right track. Here are some of the items that intrigued us:
Restaurateurs looking to beef up entrees for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free customers found a potential solution in Before the Butcher, a 6-month-old company that produces soy-based versions of burgers, pulled pork, beef tips, chicken chunks and sausage. The manufacturer says its mission is to provide plant-based alternatives that not only satisfy nutritionally, but are also great tasting and fun to eat.
This root vegetable with superfood powers is making inroads, especially with millennial consumers. Used in everything, from lattes to smoothies to salsa, manufacturer Love Beets says the veggie promotes heart health, prenatal care and exercise performance, giving it universal appeal. It’s also USDA certified organic, non-GMO and kosher.
Breaded vegan appetizers
Seascape Inc. offered up its Fresh Veggie Falafel and French Fried Jumbo Butter Beans, coated in panko breadcrumbs, as on-trend appetizer or side dish alternatives. The mission, Seascape says, is to give operators delicious options they can serve to customers with special dietary desires.
Zest Tea offered showgoers a look at its new line of high-octane, sparkling teas that have just 5 grams of sugar and 25 calories in each serving. The product also contains 150 mg of caffeine in each can; that’s the same amount in one cup of coffee. The manufacturer says the real plus is that the tea, which comes in pomito lime, masala chai and citrus hibiscus flavors, is made with a special amino acid that enhances alertness, but reduces the jitters and crash.
Gluten-free breads, pizza and desserts
Consumers who are gluten intolerant or suffer from celiac disease want to have fun, too, when dining out, and restaurateurs are heeding that call. More products, like Smart Flour Foods’ hoagie rolls, pizza crusts and snack bites, are just a few of the options available right now. They’re fully cooked, easy to handle and serve, and feature a 14-day refrigerated shelf life.
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