From the Editor’s desk: July-August 2015
Veggies hit the mark twice
It may be time to give vegetables higher billing on your menu.
For one thing, many Canadians want a healthier lifestyle. A recent Mintel report on consumer spending and lifestyles found the top two goals are exercising regularly and eating more fruits and vegetables. Fifty-nine per cent of Canadians polled wanted to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet.
This enthusiasm for eating healthier seems to be less about health and more about balance, the report suggests. Canadians want to strike a balance between financial priorities and reasonable indulgences, specifically, in the areas of dining out and taking long vacations.
Interestingly, although consumers want to cut back on spending, the Mintel data shows they will continue to spend money on all kinds of purchases both essential and non-essential, including dining out.
Millennials are especially keen to indulge themselves at mealtime. The report says customers under the age of 35 are making dining out a priority on par with saving money for the future. In other words, they too want balance. They recognize the wisdom of being frugal while still treating themselves once in a while.
Here’s a second reason to look at vegetables with fresh eyes. Millennials love to try new foods. And if those foods also are good for them, so much the better!
Millennials love to travel and want to bring home the tastes they discover, said McCormick Canada reps at a November 2014 Toronto trends forecast. U.S. consultants Baum+Whiteman call this “restless palate syndrome.”
These cravings for balance and adventure give pizzerias options to use more vegetables – or to try new varieties – when marketing them to customers.
When young people turn to your pizzeria to indulge, you can help them do two things: You can make them feel good about indulging in pizza by including more vegetable options on your menu. And you can appeal to their sense of adventure by offering lesser-known varieties of vegetables as toppings in order to summon exotic locales.
“Vegging out” (see page 16) offers tips and suggestions for showcasing vegetables on your pizzeria’s menu.
“Vegetables are still relegated to the back of the order sheet when it comes to restaurants for the most part,” says Ontario organic farmer Antony John in the story.
John says that’s because of a misconception that vegetables taste the same no matter where they come from. But many customers ask him for vegetables they have eaten on their travels overseas, which suggests they are looking to re-create pleasant or exciting experiences.
So you may not have to tweak your menu much to achieve a balance between health and indulgence. It may mean combining exotic vegetable varieties – more and more are available in Canada – with the spices of their native area to create an overall experience.
It may mean offering more vegetarian options, promoting vegetables on a pizza-of-the-day or pizza-of-the-week special, or as Diane Chiasson suggests (see page 15), setting up a self-serve antipasto bar.
This summer – and year-round – consider giving vegetables more play in your pizzeria. Make customers see them in a new light, as exotic indulgences, as local delicacies or as part of creative combinations with meats and cheeses.
People want to be better versions of themselves. Catering to that desire may tip the scales in your favour.
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