Spring! It’s nice that we can once again start featuring locally grown foods (depending on your definition of local) with some variety. What are we talking about? Spring greens, seasonal favorites and lighter meals top the list.
At the same time, schedules are no less hectic, which means it’s a time to continue using that crock pot, and freezing the leftovers. Caramelized onions are “in” and one way to dress up the ordinary dishes you might be preparing. Make it into a jam for use when the sweet onions of spring aren’t plentiful.
This is also the season for supermarket dietitian summits, which help us get the foodies thinking. Last month, we attended the Supermarket Dietitian Symposium  in Savannah, Ga., sponsored by the Oldways Preservation Trust. This month the focus is on ideas at the Field Trip Factory  summit with the Food Marketing Institute. Ongoing demand for local foods was one of the hot topics that caused many of us to don our thinking caps.
Consider: How do you put a “feed lot” or have animals grazing using a narrow “local” definition? How many regions can have “locally grown” pineapples or bananas as well as meats? Are we talking “local” or “locale” and wanting to know more about where (and how) our food is raised? What is our (and our customers’) perceptions when we hear “processed”? Is it more of an issue of minimally processed, or environmentally safe? And, are we able to balance taste along with nutrition and value?
We each come in with our own expectations. While you are sorting out the thoughts, consider these ideas:
- Store tours with organic, seasonal, local and “locale” themes.
- A focus on team members since they are more likely than the RD to be witnessing customer shopping distress.
- Ideas for seniors, a sometimes forgotten but important group of customers.
- Recipe rejuvenations — ideas for seasonal and popular foods in your region but with a health twist.
Spring… A time to refresh, renew and think health-smart!