Phil Lempert, the self-avowed “Supermarket Guru,” turned his attention to casual foodservice for a recent poll on his website, supermarketguru.com. While 43% of respondents found great food to be the most important factor to getting their repeat business, 40% added great atmosphere to the great food requirement. Only 1% demanded children's entertainment, a telling factor when considering the opinions on dining with children.

A combined 58% sometimes or never dine with their children, while only 30% do so frequently or always, the latter of which registered a 4% total. As Lempert observed, “Slashing prices and adding bells and whistles to impress the children aren't always the answers.”

Favorite meals enjoyed in the casual setting also ran the gamut. Some 27% preferred a fresh ground hamburger, while 25% opted for a steak platter with side dishes. With 24% of the vote, a huge fresh salad tied with a specially seasoned chicken sandwich. Sodas are the beverage of choice for 57% of respondents, 10% of whom have water. Milkshakes are the beverage for 4%, with 40% choosing chocolate and 16% making for mocha or vanilla (each).

Desserts, however, get little attention, at least from these respondents. A combined 84% order dessert never or sometimes. Leaving only 16% to frequently or always partake. Of those enjoying an after-dinner treat, 49% settled for the old stand-by ice cream, with 42% taking the cake—or pie. Brownies and cookies registered with 6% and 3% of respondents, respectively.

Egging Them On

A new report from NPDFoodworld, Port Washington, N.Y., has found that the traditional breakfast meal consisting of eggs and bacon or sausage is making a comeback. Among Americans eating breakfast at home, the consumption of these foods is at its highest level in a decade, according to “Breakfast in America.”

While egg/omelette dishes bottomed out at 27 occasions per capita in 1998, that number rose to 33 in 2002. Scrambled eggs were enjoyed 15 times a year, representing its best showing since 1993. That year, sausage consumption stood at nine occasions per capita, which fell to seven by 1998 but has since jumped to 10 for 2002.

Bacon hit its low-water mark of 12 in 1998, though it also rose in 2002, jumping to 13.

Why the change? Arnie Schwartz, vice president of NPD's National Eating Trends, says, “Americans have probably wanted bacon and eggs all along. What has changed is attitudes. Taste is more important. Health concerns have diminished, and making a traditional breakfast at home is making a comeback.”

The report also found Americans skipped breakfast more than at any time since 1998, when 51 breakfasts were missed. On average, 50 morning meals were foregone in 2002. Young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) were the primary transgressors, by-passing almost one out of every four breakfasts—twice the national average.

Sidebar: THE IN BOX:

DSM Venturing will be investing $1.5 million in CreAgri Inc., a nutraceutical company focusing on the discovery and development of antioxidant polyphenols extracted from olive pulp. Through the investment and cooperation with CreAgri, DSM expects to accelerate innovations in the nutraceuticals area.

Aurora Foods Inc. has promoted William F. Parker to the position of senior vice president of sales.

Rhodia Food has added Connie Wong to its Madison, Wisc.-based probiotics team.

Treatt plc has relocated its U.S. facility to Lakeland, Fla. and renamed it Treatt USA. Treatt also has named John Boddington manager of natural products (non-essential oil derived).

Midwest Grain Products Inc. has hired Jason Zhao as director of marketing research in charge of developing extensive market analysis to help guide the company's sales and marketing efforts. The company also named Steve Wilson Jr. marketing communications assistant, and Clodualdo (Ody) Maningat has been named vice president of application technology and technical service activities.

PURAC America has selected Hayley Walls as its market development specialist. She will be responsible for technical support and market development for meat and poultry applications throughout the NAFTA region.

Specialized Technology Resources Inc. has acquired Shuster Laboratories Inc., an independent consumer products R&D firm and testing laboratory.

SK Foods has named Glenn Long director of quality assurance. He will be responsible for developing, implementing and administering all aspects of quality control and quality assurance programs. He also will oversee the management of SK Food's research and development departments, as they relate to the development of new products.

Nikken Foods Co. North America, a division of Nikken Foods Co. Tokyo, Japan, has appointed James B. Nolte as manager of technical services. He will manage technical affairs, product development and practical application of the company's line of natural flavors.

The National Center for Food Safety and Technology has named Karen D. Huether as its new director for food safety. She was previously director of microbiology and food safety at Kraft Foods and director of food safety for Nabisco.

Nutrinova has announced plans to launch its omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), at Supplyside West. Using highly developed microorganisms, protists, in the production, it will be marketed under the brand name DHActive.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has completed its acquisition of Minnesota Corn Processors LLC. ADM also has received three U.S. patents that describe the use of concentrated isoflavones in combination with other plant-derived phytochemicals for the treatment of blood-related diseases, cancer and menopausal symptoms. The patents cover plant-derived compositions enriched with at least two phytochemicals from a group consisting of isoflavones, lignans, saponins, catechins and phenolic acids.