Leading restaurants have begun celebrating the arrival of spring and warmer weather by adding lighter dishes, seasonings and sauces, according to foodservice consultants Technomic. These dishes are heavily showcasing seafood as well as citrus and fruit flavors such as lemon, lime and peach.

The findings are part of Technomic's ongoing examination of menu additions to leading independent and chain restaurants' menus, which are collected bi-annually and available on Technomic's MenuMonitor database.

"We found that restaurants have begun rolling out a number of new seafood dishes, especially entrees incorporating grilled shrimp, salmon or tilapia," says Bernadette Noone, director of product management at Technomic. "We believe that the higher incidence of seafood dishes is the direct result of a fall in seafood's retail price points. We've also seen countless restaurants introduce new menu offerings featuring citrus and other fruit flavors. Lemon and lime have been exceptionally popular."

From the April 26, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition