Chef Power Hour: Can Veggies Take the Center of the Plate?

On March 31, 2015 chef Steven Satterfield (Miller Union), Jane Black (Author)Chris Hunt (GRACE Communications Foundation)Kathleen Phillips (Greener Fields Together), Gina Jones (Produce Marketing Association), and Gina Nucci (Mann Packing) helped us learn what chefs need to know about creating a veggie-centric program that turns a profit. We covered current data and trends, tips for cracking down on food waste, and and explored the challenges of sourcing sustainable produce year-round.

Listen to the recording

What the Chef Power Hour covers

1. Current vegetable consumption in the US

  • Trends, data, and the new USDA Dietary Guidelines

2. Chefs and vegetables

  • How chefs are featuring vegetables on their menus
  • Making a profit on vegetables – is it possible?

3. Supply and demand

  • Current pricing and demand for produce in the US
  • Broader consumer trends as they relate to vegetable consumption and nutritional awareness

4. Sourcing tips and tricks

  • Sourcing sustainable produce for your restaurant or business

Data on Current Vegetable Consumption in the US

Market size

  • The final value of fresh produce sold through all marketing channels in the US was estimated at over $122.1 billion in 2010
  • In 2008 the USDA estimated that only around 10% of fresh fruit and 20% of veggies were purchased in foodservice channels (lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes were the big exceptions). Seasonality, perishability, inconsistency, pricing, and supplier size were cited as obstacles to using more produce

Consumer trends

Consumers have high expectations of the foods they eat and they look to fruits and vegetables to help them stay well, and produce is being incorporated into menus to add interest and make consumers feel better. Data Essentials reported at Produce Marketing Association’s 2014 Foodservice Conference that:

  • 94% of consumers believed it’s important for restaurants to feature more produce, up from 80 percent the prior year
  • 91% of operators believed it’s important for restaurants to feature more produce, up from 84 percent the prior year
  • 90% of operators and consumers believed produce is important in making a dish authentic

New US Dietary Guidelines – Summary



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