The pandemic has changed a lot of things for foodservice operators, but fundamental aspects of doing business remain the same. For example, transparency in food sourcing remains a very important issue for consumers, with 77 percent wanting to know more about their food’s supply chain, according to a recent study from Datassential. If anything, the desire for all-around transparency has only risen, and operators must deliver on those expectations if they’re looking to compete into the future.
The same study found that premium claims for proteins featured on menus—such as “raised in the USA,” “no artificial ingredients,” and “non-GMO”—are still crucial components of customer loyalty, and that 35 percent of customers are willing to pay more for proteins specifically labeled “antibiotic-free.”
“Consumers continue to demand transparency regarding the food they eat and the restaurants they patronize,” says Doug Wickman, VP of marketing and business development at Perdue Foodservice. “Premium products with key menu claims can help increase your profit.”
Chicken is featured on over 95 percent of menus industry-wide. That presents an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering high-quality chicken and calling it out on the menu. And, at a time when restaurants are strapped for cash, it’s helpful that chicken is a single SKU that is incredibly versatile, and can be featured across a menu in many different ways. It’s also an ideal protein to hold up to the growing demand of carry-out and delivery.
Of course, in order to be able to make these menu claims, chefs and operators first have to start with the right foodservice partner. Perdue recently celebrated 100 years of family ownership and has a lasting commitment to responsible food and agriculture.
“Perdue Harvestland Chicken and Turkey products are made using only clean, simple, recognizable ingredients,” Wickman says. “They are responsibly raised on family farms with ‘No Antibiotics EVER,’ on a 100-percent vegetarian diet with no animal by-products.”
The next step for operators is figuring out exactly how to communicate claims that match up with what their customers are looking for, and that has become more challenging in a world where fewer diners are entering storefronts. First, brands should make sure online menus are clearly labeled. In the space where an appetizer or entree is described, brands should emphasize virtues such as “No Antibiotics Ever Chicken.” Secondly, it’s still important to educate employees—in particular waitstaff—on the protein’s origin story. The staff’s ability to relay that story to customers can help emphasize a restaurant brand’s commitment to menu responsibly raised animal products.
“We have a great story and I encourage operators and chefs to visit the Perdue Foodservice website to learn more about our achievements in animal care,” Wickman says. “They’ll find out why we are the leading supplier in premium attributes in menu claims for chicken and turkey.”
By Charlie Pogacar