National Watermelon Promotion Board's Foodservice Program Showcases Watermelon Versatility; Megan McKenna Shares
WINTER SPRINGS, FL - As the summer comes to a close, the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is reflecting on its Foodservice program and how it showcased the versatility of the category as a trend-forward ingredient. The board’s campaign focused on reimagining the possibilities of watermelon on restaurant menus by adding the fruit to new global dishes.
“The idea is to build awareness of watermelon’s versatility and shift perceptions away from nostalgia and explore watermelon in contemporary uses,” said Megan McKenna, Senior Director of Foodservice and Marketing, who spearheaded the campaign. “We are already seeing many operators at the independent level embrace watermelon in trend-forward applications. NWPB plays a pivotal role in helping to bridge culinary trends and high-volume operators through education and innovation support.”
A key part of this year’s program was the NWPB’s Watermelon Flavor Dynamics, a tool that empowers culinary professionals to explore cooking techniques, taste affinities, and flavor contrasts. According to a release, the guide also includes a Flavor Pairing Guide that is categorized by region of the world, giving chefs, foodservice operators, K–12, and marketing and purchasing decision makers a roadmap to creating trend-forward and culturally rich offerings.
Some other examples of how the NWPB inspired culinary enthusiasts to use fresh watermelon on their menus include:
- June – Center for Advancement of Foodservice Educators (CAFE) annual leadership conference
- July – International Fresh Produce Association Foodservice Show: NWPB sponsored a sampling station outside the show floor, serving the Watermelon Burmese Salad and Watermelon Rind Gazpacho, highlighting using the whole product and global flavors
- August – Flavor Experience: The organization offered inspiration to menu developers and operators by serving Spice Smoked Watermelon Bao, Char Sui Watermelon and Lamb Egg Roll Bowl, and a Watermelon Jelly Donut. Flavor Experience hosts more than 200 national and regional brands with menus highlighting on-trend food items
This fall, NWPB will continue to encourage innovation by collaborating with foodservice operators with a focus on flavor. Building on the momentum from the summer campaign, the board will sponsor the Latin American Cuisine Summit, Menu Directions, and the International Foodservice Editorial Council.
Click here to read more about NWPB's summer campaign.
To see how NWPB further bolsters the use of fresh watermelon in the culinary space, stick with ANUK.