Consumers are responding with gusto to dining options that come with a side order of transparency. Clean labeling is the next step on many diners’ path toward eating in a way that’s better for themselves and better for the planet.
Hartman Group senior vice president Shelley Balanko has said that cues for clean eating include the absence of artificial or unnatural ingredients, distinctive flavors, locally sourced ingredients, a short and recognizable ingredient lists and markers of high-quality production or sourcing. She noted that some consumers extend the definition of clean food to include an absence of GMOs and pesticide residues and an emphasis on sustainability, animal welfare and ethical farming practices.
Cooking Light recently named the top ten best restaurants for clean eating. Included on the list was the breakfast program at London-based chain Pret A Manger, which includes offerings of organic coffee (with organic milk), fresh fruit, oatmeal, muesli, Greek yogurt and cage-free eggs. At Le Pain Quotidien, the bread is made with organic ingredients, with no preservatives and is baked in-house daily. And Veggie Grill, a West Coast-based fast casual chain, has a 100 percent vegan menu.
Getting a cleaner menu begins with taking a closer look at all your ingredients and determining, case by case, if there are less-processed options you can choose. Restaurant Business magazine suggests targeting key standards, such as eliminating antibiotic-treated proteins, or removing artificial flavorings and coloring, and tackling them one or two at a time.
One easy “clean win” can come from the salad dressings you order, so consider menuing T. MarzettiTM Simply Dressed® clean label dressings. They’re made without high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors or gluten. Choose from back-of-house gallons, 32 oz. bottles and single-serve packets and cups.