MCLEAN, VA - Hyatt Hotels & Resorts launched yesterday "possibly the broadest healthy food policy yet among major chains," USA Today reports.
The program offers menus featuring organic vegetables, seafood, and meat and dairy produced without chemicals. Additionally, portions will be trimmed, resulting in reduced calorie counts, said Susan Santiago, Hyatt€™s vice president of food and beverage.
While the chain will retain its popular hamburger, it will be upgraded to the "Meyer Natural Angus Burger" and contain seven ounces of beef instead of the previous eight, and 817 calories vs. 1,176. Hyatt said it made its decision out of growing concern for obesity.
"We're not putting our customers on a diet," said Susan Terry, Hyatt's culinary vice president. "[W]hat we're focused on is how we can make that hamburger the best it could be."
Later this year, Hyatt will begin sourcing shrimp free of tripolyphosphates, an additive that plumps them artificially.
Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University's hospitality school, said Hyatt can attract more customers by building its identity around the health issue.
"When business travelers are asked about things they dislike most, 'not enough sleep' and 'eating more unhealthy' ranks right up there after the awful experience of travel itself," he said. "This a way to try to respond to that shift market share."
Previously, large hotel chains have not been able to take big steps to revamp their menus, partly out of difficulty in running a global purchasing program with suppliers that may be too small to meet their demand, according to Brad Nelson, Marriott€™s corporate chef.
Marriott has made efforts in the healthy direction and they are pressuring food suppliers to change objectionable practices.
"From a scale perspective, we're really exerting influence and pressure on our (large) suppliers," Nelson said. "For example, we've been working with one of the major pork producers to supply natural and pure bacon."
Among actions by hotel chains:
- Westin hotels recently expanded its "Superfoods" menu to include such items as green-tea-infused salmon.
- Hilton last year launched breakfast menus featuring healthy options and is working on concepts that focus on healthy, local and fresh.
- Fairmont rolled out its Lifestyle Cuisine program in 2008 that incorporates sustainable, locally sourced and organically grown products whenever possible.