Red Mango Scoops Up Healthy Nutritionals with Help from MenuCalc®
Red Mango, the fastest-growing retailer of all-natural nonfat frozen yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies, opened its first US store in July 2007 in Los Angeles. It has since celebrated over 70 store openings in 17 states. Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Red Mango is considered the frontrunner in the tart frozen yogurt phenomenon that has become popular with health-minded diners, and became the first frozen yogurt retailer to become certified by the National Yogurt Association's Live and Active Culture Seal for meeting the required criteria for healthy frozen yogurt. The brand has also pioneered the first iced teas fortified with probiotics, and recently entered the smoothie business with an all-natural formulation based on fresh fruit and stevia.
Before state or national menu labeling laws started to require restaurant operators to supply nutrition information to their customers, Red Mango CEO Dan Kim had already prioritized nutritional transparency as a primary value for his company. "Health is a very important attribute of our brand," said Kim. "Consumers in general are demanding transparent menus and ingredients statements, so we need to provide them with accurate information about what they are eating." Kim recognized that Red Mango customers expect the healthiest and best tasting foods every time they visit a store, and believed providing accurate and reliable nutritional data was crucial in order to develop relationships with his customers.
Though Kim had previously relied on independent CD-ROM software to obtain recipe analysis for Red Mango's menu items, he was interested in upgrading to a more sophisticated, modernized system. He wanted to find an alternative nutrition analysis solution that didn't require transporting cold frozen yogurt samples to a lab or paying a costly independent consultant. Kim had heard about the usability of the latest web-based nutrition analysis software, and saw the appeal in this method over the more clinical, often specialized knowledge required to use CD-ROM software.
Flexibility, Accuracy, and Value
Through a friend, Kim heard about MenuCalc and was instantly intrigued. "A web-based interface was the primary driver in choosing a system because of the flexibility, accuracy, and affordability it provides," stated Kim. After signing up for the product's free trial, he was impressed with the usability of the interface and signed up for an unlimited annual subscription.
Red Mango now exclusively uses MenuCalc, a sophisticated online tool that instantly calculates the nutrition analysis of recipes. MenuCalc claims to effectively slash the high fees charged by laboratories and consultants in half by utilizing a database of 25,000+ ingredients. Results are instant, accurate and accessible 24/7 from any online computer. The application's most unique feature is its built-in flexibility – after the nutrition analysis is complete, clients can log into their customized online accounts and easily modify recipes for increased healthiness or to qualify for FDA-approved claims such as "low-fat". In addition to providing expert, responsive customer service, Founder and CEO Lucy Needham and Lead Registered Dietitian Alyson Mar counsel clients regarding regulations, industry issues and developing food trends. Kim says that once he met with the MenuCalc team and understood the value of their product, he knew he had found the perfect nutrition analysis solution for Red Mango.
"MenuCalc has simplified our menu analysis functions, and has made it easier for us to share recipes and information with multiple people," said Kim. "The CD-ROMs we were using before are limiting by nature. It only allowed a single user at a time, at a single access point. The flexibility of access and usability are all part of the benefits that an online platform provides."
Clients can either choose to license MenuCalc's application for unlimited use and independently perform their nutrition analysis, or else to utilize the services of MenuCalc's expert staff at a set, per-item rate. Red Mango selected the unlimited access option, which gives them the flexibility needed to change out recipes for seasonal flavors, or substitute an ingredient if a healthier option comes on the market.
A Perfect Match
"It seems only natural that a partnership would develop between Red Mango and a company like FoodCALC," says FoodCALC's Brand Coordinator, Lara Baldwin. "Both brands place a premium value on the importance of nutritional transparency and easy-to-use tools for a healthier America." She adds, "The Red Mango brand is fresh, exciting and nutritious. Therefore, the nutrition information has to be up to par with their brand and image. Their choice in MenuCalc symbolizes their commitment to offering their customers menu items that are not only delicious, but genuinely nutritious."
Kim agrees. "Providing this information reflects our brand personality based on honesty and authenticity, and our brand trifecta of health, taste and style. We selected MenuCalc because of how easy it is to use, which enables us to provide complete nutritional information to our customers faster and more efficiently," he said.
"We want Red Mango to be characterized as a leader that embraces honesty, transparency and openness in the way we communicate with our fans and customers; especially with respect to the way we share our nutritional information. MenuCalc's friendly user interface is consistent with our brand personality, and so is their management and support team."
Since MenuCalc is web-based, it does not require any new software or elaborate computer setup procedures. Kim's team can update their recipes instantly without having to go through a third party or worry about compliance standards.
FoodCALC has supported Red Mango with customer service questions regarding labeling regulations, nutritional questions from their Director of Product Development, and overall support for the operation with respect to recipes and menu items.
"The MenuCalc team has been very supportive of all of our needs. The web-based application is very easy to use, so we have not had many opportunities to need assistance from their support team," said Kim. "In the few instances where we did have questions, the FoodCALC staff not only answered them quickly and directly, but did so in a way that gave careful thought to the specifics of our business and how MenuCalc could best be applied based on that knowledge. They are very responsive and adaptive to ever-changing needs."
More about MenulCalc
MenuCalc is one of two nutrition analysis applications developed by San Francisco, CA-based FoodCALC® LLC. Founded in 2003, FoodCALC develops unique online solutions for a healthier America, and has recently been endorsed by The National Restaurant Association as a preferred nutrition analysis platform. FoodCALC also built LabelCalc®, the only online tool that instantly generates accurate, up-to-date FDA-compliant nutrition facts panels for small-to-medium sized food manufacturers. For more information, visit www.MenuCalc.com and www.LabelCalc.com; email info@MenuCalc.com or info@LabelCalc.com or call 415-398-4628.