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Restaurant Trends to Watch: How Sweetgreen's EVOO Shift May Influence Menus Everywhere

In a move that reflects its unwavering commitment to health and sustainability, Sweetgreen has recently announced that they will cook exclusively with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) it its resturants. This bold move aligns perfectly with the brand's core values and overarching goals, reinforcing its position as a frontrunner in the fast-casual dining industry. 

Health at the Heart of Sweetgreen

One of Sweetgreen's primary missions has always been to provide its customers with healthy and nutritious food options. Their menu, filled with fresh vegetables, grains, and proteins, caters to those looking for balanced and wholesome meals. The switch to EVOO for cooking underscores their commitment to health in multiple ways:

  1. Heart-Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil is renowned for its health benefits, primarily due to its high monounsaturated fat content, which has been linked to improved heart health. By cooking with EVOO, Sweetgreen is making a conscious effort to provide healthier fats in their dishes.

  2. Antioxidant-Rich: EVOO is rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and polyphenols, which can help protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. This aligns with Sweetgreen's focus on sourcing fresh, antioxidant-packed ingredients.

  3. Naturally extracted and minimally processed: EVOO is extracted by mechanical means only, without high heat or chemicals. This helps Sweetgreen's customers avoid solvent extracted seed oils.

  4. Most stable cooking oil: Extra virgin olive oil has been found to be the most stable cooking oil under heat.  Cooking with EVOO can help both customers and cooks avoid toxic compounds that are released when highly refined polyunsatured fats are heated. Olive oil can stand up to the heat, even in industrial kitchen such as those found in restaurants.

Local and Sustainable Sourcing

Sweetgreen has long been committed to sourcing ingredients sustainably, a practice that benefits both the environment and local communities. EVOO can also align with these values:

  1. Global Sustainability: Sweetgreen supports local family farmers in California and Texas with their olive oil purchase.

  2. Flavorful Ingredient: The distinct and robust flavor of extra virgin olive oil can enhance the taste of Sweetgreen's dishes, further showcasing the company's dedication to providing a memorable and enjoyable dining experience.

  3. Reduced Environmental Impact: The sustainable practices associated with olive cultivation, such as soil and water management techniques and protection of biodiversity, harmonize with Sweetgreen's eco-friendly approach to food production.

Trend Setting

springboneBy using extra virgin olive oil in their restaurants, Sweetgreen joins other fast casual chains such as Elevation Burger, Springbone Kitchen and BB.Q Chicken who uses olive oil to cook their food.  The oil that food is cooked in should not be an afterthought. These restaurants are showing care and commitment to their customers by choosing health and flavor over the bottom line.

“Reimagining fast food goes beyond the kitchen and starts with a strong, transparent supply chain. In addition to partnering with suppliers and growers we trust, we take into account how every ingredient is prepared, down to the oil it’s cooked in,” said Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen Co-Founder and Chief Concept Officer. “While we know there’s more work to do, we hope this change raises the bar and continues to inspire our industry to make quality products more accessible.”

Sweetgreen's decision to cook with extra virgin olive oil is a testament to its unwavering commitment to health, sustainability, and culinary innovation. We hope that this bold move encourages more restaurants to follow suit and prioritize high-quality, healthy ingredients. Ultimately, the goal is to provide diners with the nutritious and flavorful dining experiences they crave, ensuring that the culinary landscape evolves in favor of a healthier, more satisfying future.

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