Smoothie Savvy?

Smoothie SavvySmoothie – Add It To Your Restaurant’s Menu

Love it or hate it, McDonald’s knows food trends. They jumped on board the dollar menu, launched the McCafe line of high end coffee drinks and added grilled chicken to the menu to capitalize on consumer tastes. They also picked up on consumers’ love of the smoothie early, launching their line of smoothies in 2010.

The other chains began to follow with Burger King caught on in 2012, adding smoothies to their line of more healthy options, and Dairy Queen recently added smoothies to the menu as well. Few other fast food outlets have followed suit, despite the popularity of smoothies with health conscious consumers.

Restaurants and cafes can fill the void in the fast food market and reach out to customers who avoid fast food outlets in the first place by adding smoothies to their menus. Commercial blenders make it fast and easy to fill these orders. Let’s check out a few trends in the smoothie market these days.

Chia Seeds

Yes, the kind of chia seeds used for the famous Chia Pet of infomercial fame. These seeds don’t just make for friendly windowsill pets. Chia seeds pack a nutritional punch as well and have been showing up on menus lately.

Adding chia seeds that have been soaked in water first add bulk to a smoothie and aid in digestion. They also are high in protein, amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids so the smoothie not only tastes good, but is good for you as well.

Going Green

Green smoothies made with kale, spinach, chard and other hearty greens are another trend hitting the smoothie market these days. Several smoothie “challenges” include green smoothies

Kale, specifically, has recently become somewhat of a culinary celebrity with websites and health experts touting it as a “superfood.” It is rich in vitamins K, A and C and has significant amounts of calcium and iron.

Contrary to the green color, smoothies containing these greens are actually quite sweet because of the inclusion of other ingredients such as apples, pears, bananas or other fruits and vegetables.

Meal Replacements

On the go, busy people are always looking for the next meal on the go, especially for breakfast. We had the granola bar, protein bar and even oatmeal to go. Smoothies make a quick and easy meal replacement as well, especially when they can pack such a nutritional punch.

Hearty smoothies that can replace a bagel or bacon and eggs can include:

  • Tofu for extra protein, calcium and iron;
  • Heart-healthy nut butters, particularly almond butter;
  • Superfoods like acai berries, blueberries or kale, as previously mentioned;
  • And “detox” foods like beets, pineapple and apples.

These smoothies will keep hunger at bay and are more nutritious than a doughnut for those of us who need a quick breakfast on busy mornings.

Naturally Gluten Free

The number of people choosing a gluten free diet has steadily risen in recent years with people choosing to avoid gluten for many reasons including a diagnosis of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which people cannot digest gluten.

Many others have chosen to avoid gluten for other reasons including weight loss, a switch to a paleo diet and other reasons. Smoothies, usually made of fruit, vegetables and dairy, are naturally gluten free.

Smoothies can also help people avoid other foods that commonly trigger allergies including dairy, nuts and eggs.

McDonald’s definitely nailed the growing smoothie trend. The food service industry should follow their lead and improve upon their model. A great blender, a few exciting recipes, and a load of bananas and apples could help your establishment take advantage of this trend as well.