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Watermelon among fastest-growing fruits on foodservice menus

Watermelon on menus has grown by 54 percent in the past four years, according to a recent MenuTrends Research study commissioned by the National Watermelon Promotion Board and conducted by Datassential. The board commissions menu trend research every other year in order to understand the opportunity watermelon has in foodservice and benchmark watermelon’s presence year-over year.nwpb

Now in its fifth year, the board’s foodservice program, spearheaded by Director Megan McKenna, is seeing a record number of operators interested in assistance with ideation, usage ideas, education and promotion support.

In addition to current menu usage, the study reveals emerging trends that originate in foodservice, as well as opportunities for growth. McKenna can point to this data — such as popular flavor pairings or unique usage — when helping regional and national chains, independents, “groceraunts,” sporting venues, hospitality and education sectors with new and innovative offerings.

“Using the Datassential research to highlight watermelon’s unique flavor profile really resonates with operators,” said McKenna. “Now that watermelon is squarely in ‘Proliferation’ in the usage menu adoption cycle, more chefs than ever before are open to watermelon’s year-round versatility.”

According to the study, between 2017 and 2018 watermelon limited time offers launched in all months of the year but one. Historically watermelon LTOs have taken place in the summer months illustrating its move to a year-round product.

Additional findings of note include the following:

  • Watermelon is found more often on casual and fine dining menus but has seen growth across all segments.
  • National chains are featuring and expanding the use of watermelon more often and at a faster pace than regional chains and independents.
  • Watermelon ranks 22nd among most popular fruits and third among greatest four-year growth.
  • One in 10 restaurants serving alcoholic beverages feature a drink with watermelon, more than doubling in the last 10 years.

For more information or to request the full report, please contact Megan McKenna.