What do all Registered Dietitian Nutritionists encourage almost every client to eat more of? Fruits and vegetables, of course! We all work continuously to get out the message that increased fruit and vegetable consumption, along with a healthful diet, can lead to a multitude of physical and health benefits. Not a day goes by that most of us don’t work on this goal with at least one person.
As a RDN that works for Martin Bros. Distributing, a wholesale foodservice distributor, I get to make an impact on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption by planning menus with more produce, and by marketing the benefits of fruits and vegetables to my clients. Paying attention to seasonal market changes in produce availability, and monitoring changing growing conditions for crops are important factors for planning menus with the best produce options at the optimal pricing.
Getting to “sit at the table” in discussions with manufacturers and suppliers regarding the foods Senior Living Communities, K-12 schools, colleges and restaurants want to serve is another way RDNs are making an impact. Being involved in the conversation and communication with manufacturers about regulations, such as the National School Lunch Program requirements, allows us all to keep putting more fruits and vegetables in the mouths of our clients, friends and family.
Did you know the top three selling fresh vegetable items in wholesale foodservice distribution are cut lettuce blends, potatoes and tomatoes. The top three selling fresh fruit items in are bananas, apples and oranges.
Consider Pre-Cut Produce
In foodservice operations, purchasing fresh, pre-cut produce may be a logical or easier way to increase the offerings of fruits and vegetables. Using pre-cut produce may allow an operator to:
The top selling pre-cut produce items sold in wholesale foodservice distribution include: taco shred lettuce, salad mix (lettuce, carrots & red cabbage), chopped romaine, shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, and cauliflower buds.
Pre-Cut Produce Storage Tip: Temperature is the single more important factor in maintaining and maximizing product quality. Temperature abuse is the cause of most produce losses. For every 10 degree increase in temperature, a produce item can lose up to half its shelf-life and may thus be served in a less than an optional condition. Ideal storage temperatures for produce will vary depending on the produce. Charts are avaible that show ideal temperatures and the produce that should be stored at that temperature.
My new favorite produce find I’ve been buying by the case recently are fresh, peeled, pitted and halved avocados that are individually shrink wrapped. With a shelf life of 4 weeks under refrigeration, I’ve finally found a way to keep avocados on hand for use every day! No more brown or bruised avocados in this dietitian’s guacamole, burgers, salads, baked potatoes, chili, and omelets.
Check us out on LinkedIn at Martin Bros. Dietitians, www.martinbros.com, and Facebook: Martin Bros. Distributing
Blog provided by: Mary Sell, MPA, RDN, LD
Martin Bros. Menu Services Manager