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National Restaurant Association - Organic & Natural, Healthier Kids pavilions highlight health

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Organic & Natural, Healthier Kids pavilions highlight health

In today's health-conscious world, consumers increasingly demand wholesome, nutritious and environmentally friendly food products. At this year's National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, the Organic & Natural Pavilion and Healthier Kids Fare Pavilion bustled large crowds looking for solutions to boost their restaurant and foodservice businesses by taking advantage of this trend.

The Healthier Kids Fare Pavilion, new to the NRA Show this year, featured companies that could help restaurants expand nutritious offerings for children's meals. They included the USA Pear Bureau, which promoted recipes for kids' meals that used pears.

"Operators might have one of two things with pears — in desserts or salads — but we're showing them how to think about pears in new ways," says Pear Bureau Communications Director Christie Mather.

Mather and Shawn Davis, president of CBS Foods, said the pavilion was a good fit for their organizations. CBS, a Nashville, Tenn., company promoted shrimp burgers as a lean protein alternative for children's meals.

"It fits everybody," CBS Foods Vice President Robin Davis says. "If kids don't like seafood, they like shrimp."

A wide array of products were featured at the Organic & Natural Pavilion, ranging from organic meat, pasta, baked goods, vegan items, sweeteners, tea and spices. Exhibitors included household names such as, Amy's Kitchen, Bobs Red Mill Natural Foods, Dannon Food Services and Pacific Natural Foods.

Tina Soong from Vege USA LLC said she was pleased with the response from operators to her Vegetarian Plus meat alternatives. This was the company's second year at the NRA Show.

Award-winning Simpli OatShakes attracted lots of attention from exhibitors. The company showcased a line of Its natural, vegan and GMO-free oat beverages.

In the same pavilion, a more exotic offering could be found at the Ace Farm USA booth, whic offered roasted seaweed snacks. Company Director Brian Lee said his company wanted to revolutionalize the way America snacks with an alternative to potato chips.

The offerings complemented restaurateurs' efforts to offer more healthful options to consumers, including nutritious children's meals such as those provided by members of the NRA's Kids LiveWell initiative.

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