2019 was the first year I have had the opportunity to participate in the Produce Marketing Associations Foodservice Conference in Monterey, CA. This event features educational and networking opportunities, as well as dozens of exhibitors and for the first time Okanagan Specialty Fruits got to participate, showing off Arctic® apples.
The move to foodservice may seem like an obvious one, Arctic® apples’ nonbrowning nature means that they look and taste great while cutting back on food waste and allowing for easy prep. Why then, did it take us several years to make that leap? The answer has less to do with business than it does with biology – apple trees take around four years to reach full production, and our most mature trees are only 3 years old. The harvest of 2019 will see about a five-fold increase in production from 2018 and continued growth in the coming years, allowing us to offer the quantities necessary for foodservice operators.
So, 2019 is shaping up to be a great year to make our foray into foodservice. Not only will we have our Arctic® Granny and Arctic® Golden fresh sliced apples available in more pack sizes, but the world is taking note of fruits and vegetables more than ever! Restaurants have started featuring produce in new ways on their menu, meeting the demands of a new generation of consumer – and delighting the keen eye of the Instagram user. This shift is thanks in part to the plant forward movement and popular diets that promote produce consumption. While I do not prescribe to be a big fan of fad diets, the trend towards plants is something I can get behind. It may have started with protein alternatives, but as Wendy Reinhardt-Kapsak from Produce for Better Health Foundation notes “Fruits and veggies are the original plants”.
Consumers are expecting more from their favorite restaurants. Great taste is a given, fresh and healthy food is preferred, and a beautiful dish is a bragging right for both the chef and the lucky diner. Arctic® apples is a perfect fit for this evolution in dining – easy, delicious, environmentally friendly, and they look great.
We couldn’t be more excited to show the foodservice industry what we’ve got.