PRO*ACT Mary Wright-Rana Discusses the Importance of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards
- by Jessica Donnel
MONTEREY, CA - PRO*ACT is teaming up with the United Fresh Association for the 9th consecutive year to sponsor the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards, and Director of Marketing Mary Wright-Rana took the time to share with us why foodservice is integral to the produce industry.
“We’re honored to be part of this since its inception,” Mary tells me, stating that it’s important to spread the word of these professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada. “The individuals for these awards in foodservice are the people that are making a difference in young kids' lives and also in our lives by making fruits and vegetables the focus of their center of the plate and by increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables.”
Mary explained that it’s the foodservice professionals that set the trends and promote produce to consumers by preparing produce in certain ways that make them want to take them home to their families.
“Chefs and the foodservice professionals are the trendsetters. They’re the ones that are out there trying new things on menus, really focusing on putting more fruits and vegetables on the plates, and people try them in a restaurant and then they go home and reproduce them to their families,” Mary said.
Mary says that foodservice can serve the industry and promote the produce aisle for retail by showing consumers what to do with those items, as well as the push social media has provided with consumers sharing their plates with the internet.
Looking to the future, Mary shared that she believes trends in foodservice are going towards the expansion of local products.
“I think you’re going to see that from hydroponics where they’re growing on rooftops in New York, but also you’re seeing people taking warehouse space and putting in levels of greens that type of stuff in area where they can’t grow year around.”
To hear our full audio interview with Mary, listen to the brief recording at the top of the page.