Seafood outslugging meat in spring menu add-ons

by Bryan Salvage
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CHICAGO – Leading restaurants are adding lighter dishes, seasonings and sauces and are heavily showcasing seafood, as well as citrus and fruit flavors such as lemon, lime and peach, according to foodservice consultants Technomic. The findings are part of Technomic’s ongoing examination of menu additions to leading independent and chain restaurants’ menus, which are collected bi-annually and available on Technomic’s searchable online MenuMonitor database.

“We found that restaurants have begun rolling out a number of new seafood dishes, especially entrées incorporating grilled shrimp, salmon or tilapia,” said Bernadette Noone, director of product management at Technomic. “We believe that the higher incidence of seafood dishes is the direct result of a fall in seafood’s retail price points. We’ve also seen countless restaurants introduce new menu offerings featuring citrus and other fruit flavors. Lemon and lime have been exceptionally popular.”

Shrimp tacos, lobster tails, grilled salmon and grilled mahi mahi are some of the most common menu additions. The seafood trend is evident throughout all restaurant segments, from quick-service chains to fine-dining restaurants.

Some new seafood entrées added to menus include Tempura Shrimp & Lobster Tail combo meal at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Orange-and-Chipotle-Glazed Grilled Salmon at Jackson’s Steakhouse and a Fish Wrap at Wienerschnitzel. Some chains have begun creating seafood entrées prepared with light sauces and seasonal ingredients.

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