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Fastest-Growing Vegetables on Canadian Restaurant Menus

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“Eat your veggies!,” a parent might say to their child. Kids may need encouragement to eat healthier, but adult consumers are increasingly reaching for flavourful nutrient-packed dishes. In fact, almost three in 10 (29%) consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers some healthy options, and over a third (39%) agree that healthy options at restaurants taste better than they did two years ago. Operators are responding to this interest in tasty salubrious fare by incorporating flavour-forward veggies on Canadian menus.

Sweet peppers grew by a landslide, up 218.2% year over year. Restaurants are featuring the peppers in Hispanic and Asian dishes, such as curries and quesadillas. With over three-quarters (79%) of consumers reporting that they prefer moderately or very spicy flavours, operators are pairing these sweet peppers with spicy ingredients, such as jalapenos, for sweet-spicy flavour complexity.

With over two-thirds (68%) of consumers expressing that they’d be more likely to buy foods that are high in protein and over a quarter (27%) willing to pay slightly or significantly more for it, enter lentils. Operators are especially adding black beluga lentils in salads and bowls, offering earthy flavour infusions. For instance, Aroma Espresso Bar menus its Moroccan-Spiced Chicken and Grain Bowl, featuring beluga lentils.

Japanese wakame increased 22.6% year over year. Not only is the sea vegetable rich in minerals and vitamins but it offers craveable umami flavours and adds a global twist to menus. This is resonating with consumers as some 68% somewhat agree that they are more interested in trying global flavours and cuisines now than they were a year ago.

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