Statement by Diane Fox
Introduction of Diane Fox, Food Beat, Inc. and report highlights
My name is Diane Fox. I’m President of Food Beat, Inc., a provider of menu analysis and related trend information to the food industry located in Wheaton , IL , a suburb of Chicago .
My career has been spent in the food industry working in the manufacturing, trade publishing and advertising agency sectors of the business. I earned both an undergraduate and a Master's degree in foods and nutrition from Michigan State University .
Food Beat, Inc. tracks menu activity and product usage at the nation’s largest restaurant chains, up and coming chains and high-profile, white tablecloth independent restaurateurs. Twice a year, we survey menus and menu boards in use at restaurants of 200 of the nation's largest chains (based on dollar volume). We maintain a database of menu information that is tapped by both restaurant operators and foodservice suppliers.
In terms of price changes, we flag menu items that show a price increase or decrease since the last reporting period. We do not track the magnitude of the price increase or decrease. We don’t measure sales of individual menu items but rather report on trends in menu offerings.
The American Seafood Distributors Association requested that Food Beat conduct an analysis of menu data from 1999 to 2003 at the top 200 restaurant chains pertaining to shrimp menu items.
Food Beat’s analysis of menu data from 1999 to 2003 at the top 200 restaurant chains pertaining to shrimp menu items found that the number of mentions of shrimp on chain restaurant menus increased 47% over five years moving from 435 mentions in 1999 to 641 mentions in 2003.
The number of chains menuing shrimp during this same time period also increased from 104 chains to 118 chains.
Of the 641 mentions of shrimp on chain menus at the end of 2003, 67% were associated with entrees, 14% were in appetizers and 9% in salads. Kids’ menu items, sandwiches, soups and sides accounted for the remaining 10% of shrimp mentions.
Since 1999, the number of appetizers with shrimp on chain menus increased 39%; the number of entrees with shrimp is up 40% and the number of salads that include shrimp jumped 90%.
As I already mentioned, in terms of price changes, we flag menu items that show a price increase or decrease since the last reporting period. Our study revealed that the percentage of shrimp items showing price decreases over the past five years was often higher than the percentage of overall menu items with price decreases. And the percentage of shrimp items that showed a price increase was often below the percentage of overall menu items with price increases.