CHICAGO — Natural and eco-friendly offerings continue to draw operators' attention as demonstrated by the products showcased in the Organic & Natural and Green Restaurant Products pavilions at the 2009 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

The show runs through Tuesday at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Grimmway Farms featured a variety of fresh carrot products, including individual snack packs as a healthy side item for kids' meals.

For specialty beverages, British company Sweetbird made its U.S. debut at the show with its line of all-natural, preservative-free shelf-stable syrups and mixes for frappes and smoothies.

Fresherized Foods displayed how innovative packaging procedures could extend a product's shelf life while maintaining appearance, quality and fresh taste. For example, its ultra-high pressure process creates a vacuum seal that keeps avocado halves fresh for 30 days. The company's product line includes shelf-stable fresh guacamole and salsa.

Novacart USA featured free-standing, paper muffin and dessert baking molds that allow operators to bake dessert items on a flat sheet instead of a special pan while also allowing the convenience of grab and go. The molds, which are biodegradable, feature several styles and coatings, including a silicone coating for gluten-free items.

Eco-friendly products in the Green Restaurant Products Pavilion included Vegawatt's debut of a generator that burns a restaurant's waste vegetable oil as a supplemental energy system. The system has just completed testing and is now available in the Northeast, a region with particularly high energy costs. The system has an electrical output of 5 kilowatts and consumes 30-80 gallons of used oil a week.
 
The Green Restaurant Products Pavilion is run by the Green Restaurant Association.

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