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.
Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.