Staying Ahead of the Foodservice Curve

The NRA (National Restaurant Association) Foodservice Event is always exciting, but it’s easy to miss some of the groundbreaking developments on display. To that end, let’s review some of the most innovative and transformative advancements from this year’s amazing show. 



This year’s event exemplified a collective commitment to sustainability. From eco-friendly packaging solutions to waste-reduction strategies, there were numerous initiatives aimed at minimizing the industry's environmental footprint. Take a look at some of the eco-trends we saw and see how The J.M. Smucker Co. is making our own commitment to a healthier planet

Waste Reduction Strategies: Efforts from inventory management systems to composting programs to innovative cooking techniques all aimed to maximize the use of ingredients and reduce unnecessary waste.

Eco-Friendly Packaging: Sustainable packaging alternatives like edible utensils, compostable or biodegradable food containers and straws made from renewable materials all signaled operators’ commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Sustainable Sourcing: Another emphasis was local, organic and sustainable sourcing. Attendees learned about initiatives that support small-scale farmers, promote fair trade practices and prioritize eco-friendly farming.



Plant-Based Cuisine

With the rise of flexitarian and vegan lifestyles, kitchens everywhere have been embracing plant-based ingredients to meet the demands of health-conscious and environmentally aware consumers. With Jif® being a  versatile plant-based option that consumers love, we were thrilled to learn more. 

Protein Substitutes: Plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, seitan and legumes showed up across the event. Chefs demonstrated how these types of ingredients can be used as meat alternatives all over the menu.

A New Kind of Egg: There were also interesting alternatives that are still new to the scene. The “world’s first plant-based poached egg made for yolk lovers” from YoEgg offered up a new way for plant-based dieters to enjoy some of their favorite egg-based dishes. 

Back-of-House Solutions: Enhanced fruit juices like Smartfruit address plant-based prep concerns with quick, convenience and fresh taste.





From AI-driven kitchen automation to smart ordering systems, attendees discovered how technology can streamline operations, enhance efficiency and elevate customer experiences.

AI Innovation: With industry-wide concern over staffing shortages, AI-enhanced robotics were a big point of inteterest. PUDU robotics among others, demonstrated future-forward methods of prepping, cleaning and serving.

Custom experiences: Today’s consumers are seeking out more personalized experiences, and with the advent of new foodservice tech, they’re finding it. The coffee systems from Select Brew® are a powerful new tool for operators looking to provide a personal touch without adding labor. The Excellence Touch, for example, allows guests to serve their own hot or iced coffee at the tap of a button.  

Unique Combinations: Customization, Fresh and Automated aren’t often three things we put together, but  vending machines like Yo-Kai’s put them all together—providing fresh noodles and desserts in one compostable package.

This year, industry experts across the show demonstrated how sustainability, plant-based cuisine and technology could come together to shape the future of foodservice. This collaborative exchange of knowledge makes this event so special and helps propel the industry toward a more sustainable, healthful, technologically advanced future.

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