Canadian Pizza Magazine

Industry groups launch fresh produce project

By IFDA   


Feb. 9, 2009, Newark, DE 
– Leaders from Produce Marketing Association (PMA), National Restaurant
Association, and International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) have
joined forces on a multi-phase project to identify opportunities to increase
fresh produce use in foodservice to promote healthy lifestyles.

The joint project will begin with a comprehensive research
project, led by the National Restaurant Association with assistance from
produce industry leaders, to examine the opportunities and barriers for greater
produce use in the foodservice sector. Those research findings will then be
used as the starting point for facilitated discussions of a first-ever Executive
Invitation Think Tank of top executives representing restaurant, distributor
and produce supplier segments. That first discussion will be the basis for ongoing,
high-level dialogues within the foodservice and produce sectors to promote
increased collaboration.

“The restaurant industry has a strong commitment to
providing our guests with a variety of healthful menu options on our menus, and
fresh produce plays an important role in a balanced diet,” says National
Restaurant Association president and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Working with our supply
chain partners to identify ways in which we can expand these options will be of
great benefit to the dining public, as well as to restaurant and foodservice
businesses. Our research shows that locally grown produce and healthy kids’
meals with vegetable and fruit side items are among the hottest trends on
restaurant menus right now.”


“As a critical partner in getting fresh fruits and
vegetables to operators throughout the nation, foodservice distributors welcome
the opportunity to bring their perspective to this important discussion,” says
IFDA president and CEO Mark Allen. “Distributors play a vital role in
supporting nutrition programs with their customers and this effort by the
industry to enhance nutrition provides meaningful solutions for America’s

The research project is underway and the think tank’s
discussion – to include senior executive operators, distributors and produce
suppliers – will take place July 24 in conjunction with PMA’s popular annual
Foodservice Conference and Exposition, to be held July 24 to 26 in Monterey,
CA. The research findings and highlights of that discussion will be presented
by a panel of project participants at the conference’s opening general session.
The associations also plan to publish a joint report summarizing the research
and the July think tank discussion.


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