U.S.: Watermelon a "foodservice powerhouse", claims NWPB
Research has shown watermelons are one of the fastest growing fruits on U.S. salad menus, but they are still only the 27th most popular fruit by penetration on commercial restaurant chain menus across the country.
In a release, the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) said the fruit was mentioned on 8.4% of menus scanned in the country by Datassential Menu Trends Research.
The board highlighted penetration increased 50% from 2010 to 2014.
"Watermelon is a foodservice powerhouse; familiar to guests, a strong health halo and available year-round," NWPB director of foodservice and marketing Megan McKenna said.
"Watermelon is a win for all day-parts and restaurant segments, across the country."
The NWPB said watermelons were featured on 3% of appetizer, entrée and side menus, with appetizers and all-day menus featuring American fare offering watermelon the most.
The fruit is featured on 6% of beverage menus and 7% of restaurant cocktail menus, is one of the fastest growing smoothie flavors rising 51% between 2010 and 2014, and when it comes to proteins it is most commonly coupled with chicken or pork.
The group highlighted penetration was stable across all regions of the U.S., and the product was placed in the 'adoption' category in the 'Menu Adoption Cycle' category.
"Adoption is when food trucks and casual dining independent restaurants catch on to a trend. The next step is for casual dining and quick service chains to include watermelon on their menus," the NWPB said.