Technomic research finds that blueberries are a menu favorite
Folsom, Calif., June 10, 2014 – In a benchmark survey of more than 300 foodservice professionals, Technomic found that customer interest in healthy dining options is pushing colorful fruits onto menus. Blueberries, for example, are showing up in dishes served throughout the day and are reported as the third most-purchased fruit, trailing only strawberries and apples1.
While blueberries—fresh, frozen, dried and canned—are most often an ingredient in breakfast items and desserts, chefs are using them in salads, smoothies and sauces as well. Seventy-three percent of the respondents say they’re interested in finding new ways to use them and half will offer more blueberry items in the future1.
“We learned from a top 500 chain menu survey earlier this year that blueberry mentions on menus boomed 97 percent between 2007 and 20132,” says Mark Villata, executive director for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). “Now, this usage and attitude study gives us insight into why. That is, what are the drivers influencing decision makers to increase their use of blueberries?”
When asked why they like using blueberries, chefs and operators say1:
- Blueberries are a healthy option for customers (82 percent)
- Blueberries are low-labor and easy to use (82 percent)
- Blueberries give the entire operation a health halo (58 percent)
- Menu prices can be higher for items that include blueberries (42 percent)
“Blueberries are delicious, healthy and versatile, and add to our menu,” says David Goldstein, executive chef at Los Angeles-based Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill. “Our menu is loaded with fresh, healthy foods so when we put together our Harvest Quinoa Superfood Salad, we added dried blueberries. These days, I think customers expect to find blueberries in the healthiest options.” In addition, Sharky’s offers handmade, freshly prepared lemonades; one of their newest is Blueberry Mint made with fresh blueberries.
Goldstein’s supposition that customers expect blueberries in healthy items is supported by results from a consumer survey conducted by Hebert Research in 2013. The survey found that3
- 99 percent of Americans believe blueberries are healthy
- 58 percent perceive blueberry dishes on menus as healthier
- 44 percent think dishes that include blueberries are more appealing
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at www.blueberrycouncil.org.
1 Technomic, Inc., April 2014. Base: 308 respondents representing restaurants, hotels, colleges and universities, businesses, healthcare, K-12 schools and convenience stores.
2 Technomic, Inc., January 2014. Base: Jul-Dec 2013 – 8,953 items from 773 restaurant menus from the Top 500 Restaurants, Emerging and Independent Operators; Jul-Dec 2010 – 4,665 items from 548 restaurant menus from the Top 500 Restaurants, Emerging and Independent Operators; Jul-Dec 2007 – 3,158 items from 440 restaurant menus from the Top 500 Restaurants, Emerging and Independent Operators.
3 Hebert Research – U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council 2013 Consumer Usage & Attitude Study. Base: 3,765 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over.
4 North American Blueberry Council, January 2014. NABC Crop Report 2013
5 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report, February 2013.