COEX: Menu, Value & Innovation

COEX: Menu, Value & Innovation

Food & Drink

COEX: Menu, Value & Innovation


The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) is presenting COEX, the annual Chain Operators Exchange, in Orlando. This event will promote lively interaction between chain restaurant trendsetters and suppliers from across the country. COEX will run now until March 3.

COEX got into full swing Monday (March 1) with a series of presentations all geared to menu innovation, trends, and value to the consumer. Here’s a short summary of some of the keynotes:

  • Michelle Barry, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of The Hartman Group, told us that the #1 eating occasion in the morning is the “home alone breakfast”—a surprise, since most envisioned fast food in a car. And, she said the #1 beverage occasion is the “early morning snack”—another surprise, since we don’t always consider that morning coffee a “snack.” Even more surprising was that the first ranking eating outside the home received was at #41.

However, Barry used that knowledge to encourage the operators and manufacturers in attendance, telling them, “The space is just right for innovation right now.”

  • Kay Logsdon, Managing Editor of The Food Channel, presented “What’s New in Menu Innovation,” with images and information about some of the chefs who are experimenting with emerging food flavors. She reviewed the 2010 Top Ten Trends and challenged the group to deliver on food that makes memories. Editor’s Note: For a copy of this speech, email
  • Peter Goss and Joe Price, Partners in the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP, presented a session on “Obesity & Risk Management: What’s Next,” which provided conference attendees with some of the rules and risks around food labels and advertisements.
  • The International Corporate Chefs Association featured a panel with Richard Faeh, Corporate Executive Chef for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Michael LaDuke, Director of Product Development for Red Lobster, Kevin Ryan, Executive Director, International Corporate Chefs Association, and Jason Sullivan, Corporate Chef, Innovation for Burger King Corporation. This group talked about Limited Time Offers and the discounted menu-item trend, and suggested the need for speed, precision, and an action plan to address the current economic conditions.
  • Presenters from NOBLE: Andy Ford, Chief Insights Officer, LeAnne Garoutte, Senior Vice President & Director of Client Services, Judy Sipe, Chief Culinary Officer, and Cari Price, Executive Chef—conducted breakout sessions on “the global flavor curve.” Editor’s note: For a copy of these presentations, email

  • ‘Navigating the Nutritional-Labeling Maze’ was presented by Kristin Eads and Jennifer Zwagerman of Faegre & Benson LLP. They told the group about the recent trend toward Voluntary Local Labeling, in which State Agricultural Departments acquires licensed trademarks to distribute to farmers and manufacturers for use on packaging and marketing purposes. They also discussed menu labeling, serving size guidelines, and various debated legislation—such as the possible Chicago Fat Tax and Federal One Cent Tax that could be placed on beverages made with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Ron Paul from Technomic presented more on menu optimization, telling the group that people eat out 1) for value—to extend their dollars; 2) to get the dishes they cannot prepare easily at home; 3) because they like to try new products. He said, “You have to have the mindset that says, ‘Every item I have on the menu has a purpose.’”

  • Operator Speed Meetings, which give operators and manufacturers a chance for face-to-face dialogue, were popular with the crowd and featured companies such as Dave & Buster’s, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, Johnny Rockets, Huddle House, Fresh City, Fish City Grill, Quaker Steak & Lube, Burger King, Boston Pizza, Village Inn, and Cheeburger Cheeburger.

The Food Channel will continue to bring you daily stories, tweets and information via Twitter, Facebook and the Website, so follow along. More tomorrow . . .

See more Photos from COEX on Facebook.

See additional stories:

COEX: Networking Around Food

COEX Preview

COEX Opening Day

Interview with Nancy Kruse

Sharing Ideas and Knowledge

Describing Memorable Food

Food & Passion at the COEX Reception

Speed Meetings

Wall to Wall Coverage

Restaurant Chains Address Key Issues

Countdown to COEX 2010

Follow all the live action at COEX at or at

Event Coverage Sponsored by IFMA


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