Fresh Mangos Added to More Menus in the Foodservice Industry


    The National Mango Board (NMB) works closely with foodservice operators, chefs and media to increase mango awareness and education with the goal of securing new fresh mango items on menus. Educating chefs, students and instructors about handling and cooking with fresh mango, and inspiring them with promotions and contests, is key to increasing mango usage in the foodservice industry. The foodservice industry is an essential audience since it’s a prime location for customers to try mangos, some for the first time.

    In an effort to spread the mango message and add more mangos on the menu, the NMB works with foodservice publications to secure mango stories in foodservice magazines and newspapers throughout the year. The NMB outreach efforts for foodservice PR garnered more than two million impressions for Q1. Look for Q2 results later in July. In November, the NMB will meet with foodservice publications at the International Foodservice Editor Council annual conference, inspiring them with chef’s mango culinary creations. 

    Mango promotions with popular foodservice entities highlight fresh mango and help them be a top-of-mind ingredient for foodservice chefs as well as their customers. Some of the 2014 NMB promotions include; On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina with 160 locations added a permanent mango menu item, Mango Chicken Salad, in January after years of working with the NMB. Red Mango frozen yogurt and smoothie restaurant chain with 300 locations conducted a Cinco de Mayo promotion from May 1-31, 2014. The promotion featured mango inspired free standing inserts, posters, window clings and social media activity. Guest Services foodservice contractor with approximately 30 locations also participated in a Cinco de Mayo promotion the week of May 5, 2014, offering four mango inspired recipes, including Mango Quesadillas, Mango Salsa Couscous and Mango Sorbet. Another foodservice entity with mango promotions include; Morrison Healthcare (hospital and health system food and nutrition services). The NMB will be tracking the results of these promotions and sharing them on the website once they are available.

    To continue inspiring chefs, the NMB performed in-kitchen demos for restaurant chains throughout the nation. Culinary support came through mango menu concepts, mango recipe development, and mango education. Participating restaurants include Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes with 128 locations and California Pizza Kitchen with 197 locations. Being able to showcase the versatility of mangos to chain chefs in their test kitchen is essential to seeing more mangos on menus in the future.

    In addition to mango promotions, the NMB invited chefs, dietitians and foodservice directors working in commercial and non-commercial foodservice operations to enter its Mangover Your Menu Recipe Contest. The contest challenged participant s to use fresh mangos in innovative and inspiring ways by creating a new recipe or update an existing menu item in the appetizer, salad and entrée categories. The recipes were evaluated anonymously by a panel of foodservice professionals which included one of NMB’s long-time partners Chef Allen Susser. Chef Michael Garahan, chef consultant and child nutrition advocate took home the Grand Prize of $1,500 with his Shrimp & Mango Gumbo. Two First Prize winners of $750 each were awarded to Chef Meryl Connelly, Southwest Soul Catering, for her Mango Manchego Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños with Curry Cornmeal Crunch and Chef Allison Leono, Private Chef, for her Pulled Pork & Mango Summer Rolls with Carolina Mustard Sauce.

    The NMB sponsored a morning refreshment break at the Marketing Executives Group (MEG) during the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago on May 17-19, 2014. The NMB presented usage ideas for fresh mango, and the foodservice team networked with marketing executives from restaurant chains to learn their current use and interest in using fresh mango on their menus. The NMB featured a Tropical Mango Salad Shooter and a Mango Bahn Mi to showcase the versatility of fresh mangos and how mangos fit into typical menu trends that appeal to restaurant customers. Later in the year, the NMB will attend The Flavor Experience Conference and Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Executive Conference to continue building strong relationships with chain operators, chefs and marketing professionals who make decisions on new menu items and promotion.

    “Educating the foodservice industry on how simple and fun it is to cook with mangos is key to increasing mango usage in foodservice,” said Megan Mckenna, Director of Marketing at the NMB. “We want to inspire chefs, and consequently consumers, to try mangos in new and exciting ways; mango flavor and texture complement many menu options, the possibilities are endless!”

    Lastly, the NMB through Foodservice Research Institute, completed a Menu Trak Study to identify mango usage as ingredients or components in different menu courses including lunch, dinner, beverages and desserts. The compiled results, together with comparison from previous years, provided the NMB with great insights. Some key results include; Mangos are the 9th most common fruit on menus and the 6th fastest growing fruit. Most common types of cuisine associated with mango were Indian, followed by Caribbean, mixed ethnicity, and Thai. Most common use of mango in beverages was blended beverages, followed by margaritas, mixed alcoholic beverages and martinis. Lastly, most common uses for mangos in desserts were frozen treats, then ethnic desserts, pudding/gelatin, fruit desserts, and beverages. With these results, the NMB will be able to track menu trends in the marketplace and target foodservice outlets for future promotions and partnerships. 

    Visit www.mango.org/Professionals/Foodservice to access resources for foodservice operators and chefs, including information about handling, ripening, cutting, yield and usage ideas. Recipes are available at www.mango.org/Recipes

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