Filed under: nutrition
Anita Jones-Mueller: Congratulations, Dan. I read that you were honored by the United Fresh Produce Association for your creative and influential use of fresh produce at Moe’s Southwest Grill. That is really exciting!
Dan Barash: Yes, we were thrilled to receive the award. We take great pride at Moe’s in our food and high quality ingredients. We offer a lot of fresh produce, and that is an important component in our food mission.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Tell us more about your food mission.
Dan Barash: Moe’s Food Mission can be seen in action every day, in every one of our 430 locations. Our food mission is all about flavor and nutrition with fresh, quality ingredients as the cornerstone. Healthier for you food has always been the focus of our brand, and we see this mission as a living and breathing project that evolves based on customer expectations.
Anita Jones-Mueller: That is a great way to look at it. I like your food mission wheel. Tell us more about Moe’s cornerstone ingredients.
Dan Barash: We are always enhancing our ingredients to meet customer demand. Our food wheel describes our mission. Our steak is 100% grass-fed with no hormones added, we use organic tofu and all-white chicken breast. Our pork is grain-fed and hormone and steroid free. Our sour cream is all-natural with no rBGH hormones, it is lower in fat, better quality and, overall, rich and flavorful. In 2010, we also added the whole-grain tortilla option to the menu in both the 10” and 12” size. Our whole-grain tortilla options now account for 30% of sales, and that number continues to grow.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Those are definitely the high-quality ingredients that many consumers are now looking for. I can see why you have such a loyal following. I know you have some really great Healthy Dining-approved choices featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com. What other steps does Moe’s take to provide healthier choices?
Dan Barash: We have a loyal vegetarian following, thanks to our variety of vegetarian options and the fact that we have a separate grill dedicated to the vegetarian options. All of our food is free of trans fats and MSG, and we never use a microwave. We also offer over 20 fresh gluten-free ingredients for those who are gluten sensitive.
Anita Jones-Mueller: How about sodium? Our dietitians told me that you made some impressive reductions in your sodium levels.
Dan Barash: Yes, we’re also very proud of the fact that we’ve reduced sodium our menu board by 50% over the last two and a half years, something that more and more Americans are tracking in their diet. We did this by adjusting recipes, replacing salts with natural enhancers, using low-sodium sea salt and simply decreasing salt.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Wow! That is impressive. How about calories and menu labeling?
Dan Barash: We know how important nutrition is to our guests just by looking at our website analytics. The third highest clicked page on our website is our nutrition page, after the home page and the menu page. You can’t argue with that. Eight years ago, we launched an easy-to-use nutrition calculator on our website, long before the availability of nutrition information was such a hot topic. We are preparing to post our calories nationwide in the near future. We offer a low-calorie menu with less cheese and no sour cream options. We are also looking at ways that we can reduce calories in some or all of our items. But we won’t make any changes that compromise the taste that our customers love.
Anita Jones-Mueller: I know that you have a four and a half year old child, so you know how important it is to families to have a place they love to eat, whether on the run or simply enjoying a meal out. How does Moe’s Southwest Grill ensure that it’s a favorite among families?
Dan Barash: We are very family-oriented. We serve the food that makes the whole family happy. We offer a variety of healthful options on our kids’ menu. And, to add a little more fun, because fun is part of our company’s DNA, our kids’ meals are served on Frisbees to promote a fun way to exercise.
Anita Jones-Mueller: That’s a very innovative way to promote exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle! It sounds like Moe’s Southwest Grill is deeply committed to offering the flavorful and nutritious foods that guests today are looking for. Thanks, Dan!
Winners of Fourth Annual Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Put Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Front and Center on Menus Every Day
WASHINGTON, DC, (April 1, 2011) – Chef Dan Barash, Executive Chef of Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill, is one of six chefs representing an array of culinary styles and backgrounds to be honored this May as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by Pro*Act LLC, and now in its fourth year, the program honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. The United Fresh Produce Association will formally recognize the six winners at United Fresh 2011, the association’s annual convention and expo in New Orleans, May 2-5.
“For four years now, we at Pro*Act continue to be amazed at the creativity, dedication and insight shown by the honorees in this program,” said Pro*Act President Max Yeater. “We are so proud to be a sponsor of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards and we thank all of the nominees and all of the chefs who work so hard to help further the goal of increased consumption of healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables.”
“Foodservice operators play such an important role in our industry, showcasing fresh produce in new and exciting ways every day. This group of winners stands out as this year’s leaders in featuring fresh fruits and vegetables on their menus,” said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. “We appreciate their tremendous commitment to our industry and recognize Pro*Act’s generous support in honoring these winners and their positive impact on our nation’s dining habits.”
This year, the program was expanded to include a sixth category honoring excellence in the K-12 Foodservice category. The six winners were selected from nearly 120 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee’s demonstrated incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce related community service and special events and recognition by their company and industry peers.
The six winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2011 in New Orleans. All six winners will participate in panel session, Lessons from the Front Line – Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award Winners, which will take place on Wednesday, May 3 at 11:30 a.m and broadcast on UnitedFresh.TV.
The 2011 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:
Business in Industry & Colleges
Chef Martin Breslin
Director of Culinary Operations
Harvard University Dining Services
Casual & Family Dining Restaurants
Chef Regis Holden
Senior Director of Culinary Services
Eat’n Park Restaurants
Fine Dining RestaurantsChef Clifford Pleau
Senior Director of Culinary Services
Costa Mesa, Calif.
Hotels & Healthcare
Chef Jacques Wilson
El Camino Hospital
Mountain View, Calif.
K-12 School Foodservice
Director, Childhood Nutrition Programs
Provo School District
Quick Service Restaurants
Chef Dan Barash
Moe’s Southwest Grill
ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwire – January 24, 2011) – Moe’s Southwest Grill, the fun, engaging and fast-casual restaurant, has made its own New Year’s Resolution. Starting today, Moe’s redesigned menu boards will feature a new food mission wheel “steering” guests to select delicious and healthy choices. Showcasing even more healthy menu options than ever before, Moe’s makes it easy for the whole family to make smart and tasty ordering decisions.
We’ve ALWAYS known, but did you? Moe’s has always had the highest standards. Never having used microwaves, animal fat, lard or MSG, Moe’s offers guests nothing but the best, with over 20 fresh ingredients including hormone-free grilled chicken, beef and even organic tofu.
No gluten? No problem. Offering more than 20 gluten-free ingredients, Moe’s allows those on a gluten-free diet to indulge like never before. Delectable and customizable menu options range from burritos to rice bowls to salads. With the growing number of Americans affected by gluten allergies, Moe’s chicken, steak, tofu and pork are all prepared gluten-free and ready to be devoured at a “Moe-ment’s” notice!
Attention Veg-Heads! The days of eating just rice and lettuce when out with friends are now over. Look no further than Moe’s, where vegetarians are VIP. Not only are the shredded cheese and sour cream free of gelatin and animal rennet, but the grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms are prepared on a totally separate grill from the meat products. Organic grilled marinated tofu provides a tasty protein option, accompanied with any number of fresh produce and black beans or a side of freshly prepared pico de gallo.
Lightening up? Feel good and show-off your choices at Moe’s with an entire menu of calorie-conscious options showcasing drool-worthy meals less than 450 calories. Salads or burritos featuring tofu or chicken, crisp produce, fresh salsa and grilled veggies easily fit in with a healthy eating lifestyle. Moe’s online nutritional calculator at www.moes.com provides additional support for those who want to further slice and dice their menu options!
Flexitarians Unite! The newest diet option — be flexible about when and where you choose to be vegetarian or a meatatarian! Not only catering to those with special dietary needs, Moe’s also offers self-help in the form of a burrito for those simply looking to incorporate a flexible, yet tasty and healthy eating plan. Moe’s guests are guaranteed delicious and fresh options whether just dabbling in vegetarianism or on a gluten-free or low-cal diet.
Moe-tivated! Moe’s thinks the world of the planet and is mindful of environmental impact and nutritional content. Serving food that sustains resources with the best possible option is vital to Moe’s ideals and company practices. Whether Moe’s is encouraging franchisees to purchase produce locally, provided Moe’s safety and quality standards can be met, or serving cage- and hormone-free chicken and grain-fed pork, Moe’s tries to do the right thing by the animals and the earth — and its customers.
Filed under: nutrition
Agency requests public comment on implementation of new provisions
SILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released two documents that outline steps to help chain restaurants comply with new federal nutrition labeling requirements.
“One of the most important things we can do when it comes to the nation’s health is to provide simple basic information to the American people so they can make choices that are best for them and their family,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “The menu labeling program will help Americans get the facts about food choices that are available to them in restaurants and vending machines so they know what is in the food and can make healthier selections.”
Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, set new federal requirements for nutrition labeling for foods sold at certain chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Establishments with 20 or more locations may be affected.
The documents released by the FDA today include:
- A draft guidance document describing implementation of certain provisions of the federal law. For certain restaurants and similar retail food establishments, these statutory provisions include posting the number of calories for standard menu items on menus and menu boards, providing additional nutrition information in writing, and posting clearly on menus and menu boards that such information is available upon request. These establishments also must post calorie information for self-serve items and foods on display.
- A final guidance document for industry regarding the effect of the new federal nutrition labeling requirements on state and local laws.
The draft guidance states that the FDA realizes that industry may need additional information and time to comply with the new provisions, and that the agency expects to refrain from enforcement action for a time period that will be provided in the guidance once it is finalized. The agency is interested in comments from the public on the appropriate length of this time period.
Today’s actions are the latest in a series of steps toward FDA’s implementation of the menu labeling provisions in the new law. On July 7, 2010, the FDA opened a docket for the public to submit comments on how the agency could best apply these provisions. On July 21, 2010, the FDA issued a notice explaining how restaurants, similar retail food establishments, and vending machine operators that are not subject to the new federal nutrition labeling requirements can elect to be subject to the federal requirements.
For more information:
Federal Register Notices
(This link is to the displayed document and will expire when the notices publish in the Federal Register. This link will be updated on Wed., Aug. 25, 2010.)
New Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements
Food Label Helps Consumers Make Healthier Choices
Survey Shows Gains in Food-Label Use, Health/Diet Awareness
How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label
Make Your Calories Count – Use the Nutrition Facts Label for Healthy Weight Management
SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration