Here we look at the fastest-growing vegetables in entrees on Canadian menus over the latest year-over-year period.
By a significant margin, poblano grew the most, up 40.0%. With almost a third of consumers (32%) reporting that they find the addition of sauces, spreads or condiments an appealing way to impart flavour in beef, chicken and seafood dishes, and 30% for vegetarian entrees, operators are commonly spotlighting this pepper in a crema, hollandaise or queso atop tacos and popular morning dishes, including omelettes, for a pop of smoky heat. Another rising pepper are banana peppers (+11.6%). Although generally featured as a pizza topping, concepts are also featuring banana peppers in spicy sandwiches and burgers, offering a tangy balance to heat-packed flavours, such as jalapeno.
Vitamin-rich vegetables, heirloom tomato and broccolini, also rose by 11.8% and 8.7%, respectively, and are often paired with meat-heavy centre-of-the-plate proteins, such as beef and seafood. Since almost half of consumers (46%) express that they at least occasionally substitute a healthier side with their entree as a way to eat more healthfully, and close to a third (+32%) are willing to pay slightly or significantly more for offerings that contain a full serving of vegetables, operators should continue to pair salubrious veggies with indulgent entrees to strike a healthy balance and provide a premium halo.
Iceberg lettuce also increased by 7.0%. Though it continues to remain a staple burger topping, a few restaurants are innovating their burgers by showcasing iceberg lettuce as a bun alternative. For instance, Moxie’s Grill & Bar menus a Lettuce “Bun” Burger. With 66% of consumers associating low carbohydrates as slightly and much healthier, operators should highlight lettuce wraps with an emphasis on low carbs to appeal to health-focused patrons.