Industry News | October 9, 2012

Freshens Adds Salads, Healthy Items for Smart Dining Choices

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Atlanta-based Freshëns, the nation’s largest frozen yogurt and smoothie company, is expanding its menu to include healthy salads. It is also rapidly opening new locations at college campuses across the country.

The new salads are hand tossed and served in a crispy edible bowl made on a crepe iron. The launch of the new salads comes on the heels of Freshëns’ successful introduction of its lineup of handcrafted crepes last year.

The expanded healthy menu has made the Freshëns brand an increasingly popular choice as a foodservice option at college campuses, including the recent renovation at Western Carolina University and new opening at St. John’s University.    

To meet the growing need for healthy options in the “better-for-you” foodservice category, Freshëns introduced its new line of handcrafted crepes last year. The crepes are “spun” on an iron in front of customers and made to order with a wide variety of fresh and natural ingredients.

The crepe menu includes breakfast crepes (served all day), savory crepes (ideal for lunch and dinner), as well as dessert crepes.

Freshëns’ crepes offer healthy and unique alternatives that appeal to customers in all dayparts. Crepes now account for 35–40 percent of sales.

After the successful launch of crepes, Freshëns once again turned to The Culinary Edge, a premiere culinary development firm based in San Francisco, to help create an additional product platform that aligns with traditional meal occasions.

The Culinary Edge team created a unique salad concept that features an edible crispy bowl. A special batter is spun on a crepe iron to create a warm shell. The shell is then placed into a form, shaped into a bowl, and then baked, not fried, until crispy.

The crispy salad bowl is made with all-natural buckwheat flower, flax, sesame, millet, and sunflower seeds.

Freshëns salads are handcrafted and tossed in front of the customer and include such options as: Strawberry Chicken, Southwest Chicken Grill, The Greek, Buffalo Chicken, Smokey Chipotle BBQ, Top Chef, Caesar, Mambo Italiano, and Sweet Ginger Chicken.

The menu also offers a create-your-own option that includes up to five “mix-ins” with the option to add chicken or steak to a custom salad creation.

“After the successful introduction of crepes, we were eager to help Freshens further leverage what was created and bring something new and unique to the marketplace once again,” says Stephen Goldman, principal, The Culinary Edge.

“We talked to guests, explored the competition, and looked closely at campuses to develop a new product that aligned with Freshens’ brand and systems and filled a gap in the market,” he continues. “The process of creating the salads was all about building on what Freshens is known for, trusted for, and good at: making fresh, healthy food in front of guests, which creates authenticity for the brand and theater for the guests.

By using the crepe iron to create the shell for the salads, we found a meeting point that aligned with all our goals and offers a truly unique and healthy option for guests.” 

Freshëns recently opened at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mississippi State University, Grand Valley State, Jacksonville State University, Pratt Institute, St. Johns University, Medaille College, the University of Arkansas, Oakland Community College, and other college campuses across the country. 

Freshëns new crepe, salad, smoothie, and yogurt concept offers all-day menu options that support the healthy lifestyles of today’s college students.

In the case of The University of Connecticut, which features Freshens fresh-blended smoothies, the students themselves even asked the foodservice director to bring Freshëns to the campus.   

“By continually improving our menu and providing best-of-class support for our brand, our goal is to make Freshëns the number one choice as a healthy dining option for foodservice operators in colleges, airports, malls, sports arenas, hospitals, and other captured audience locations,” says Ed Redmond, senior vice president.

“We offer foodservice directors flexible store layouts with a great depth of product in a compact space, as well as full national brand support for marketing and operations,” he adds. “Freshëns maintains a zero royalty fee structure, and we can tailor our concept to satisfy any meal or snack occasion and match traffic every daypart to maximize sales.”

The new menu options are an important part of the company’s expansion strategy, as it opens up additional opportunities for foodservice operators in locations where salads and expanded healthy meal choices are desired.

Freshëns plans to open 50 new locations in 2013, with a primary focus in colleges, airports, and regional malls.