Responding quickly to consumer tastes, preferences, trends and the latest flavors is essential to remain competitive and profitable. Our monthly ‘Menu Innovations’ showcases recent developments in the foodservice sector that are proving popular with customers locally and globally.
1. The Versatility of Avocado
Whether sweet, savory, pickled or simply amplified with the perfect accent, avocado’s star power is ripe for the picking. It’s a fruit, it’s buttery, it’s a “good fat,” and it’s so much more than a topping for toast. Here are three ways to serve avocado on the menu. https://goo.gl/jimK4R
JG Neil Suggestions: Avocado is incredibly versatile and comes in many different versions. For example, JG Neil represents Wholly Guacamole, the quality producer of ready-to-eat guacamole whose consistent pricing and quality ensure that you are reassuringly able to incorporate guacamole into your menus on an on-going basis. Wholly Guacamole is all-natural, and its high pressure processing preserves the fragile avocado naturally using only water and no chemicals ensuring that the rich avocado flavor is maintained. https://goo.gl/l91Lia
2. Five Flavors on the Fringe
Technomic Menu Analysis Managing Editor looks at five emerging ingredients that can help to push menus ahead of the curve including bee pollen, chili oil, tapenade, cherry pepper/pimiento and yucca. https://goo.gl/5iJMfl
JG Neil Suggestions: Create new tapenade appetizers and dips such as Kalamata and Fig Tapenade or Green Olive and Almond Tapenade from Lindsay Olives https://goo.gl/ou1oh0
3. Pork Belly: A Menu Hero
Pork belly continues its meteoric rise as a popular menu item, and a quick analysis of menus across the USA shows that pork belly is a firm favorite; from sliders and sandwiches to stir-fry dishes and tacos.
JG Neil Suggestions: Pork belly is one of the most succulent cuts of meat. Create a wide variety of recipes using Cherry Wood bacon from Hills Meats, Oregon. Be inspired by these creative dishes courtesy of Taste https://goo.gl/IGg5pO. For more information about Hills Meats, click here https://goo.gl/LXIXan
4. Reviving Comfort Foods
Retro comfort foods are making a comeback. Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. https://goo.gl/RtuDxR
JG Neil Suggestions: Add meatballs to your menu. Talk to us about Burke Corp’s fully cooked meatballs. You get delicious authenticity in a variety of flavors and sizes, giving you options for taking meatballs into bold new directions. The meatballs are oven-cooked, not fried, so the texture and flavor are just right for sandwiches, pizza, pastas, you name it. As close to your own homemade as you’ll be able to find: https://goo.gl/ycwCqs
Another classic and nationwide favorite is pasta. Craft popular pasta dishes loved by many and ensure that you incorporate fresh Californian tomatoes such as Garden Patch Lasagna https://goo.gl/zHmOgh and rich Bolognese Sauce https://goo.gl/oO6xPR from Pacific Coast Producers.
5. Soup in the Spotlight
With snacking on the rise, soup satisfies as a smaller meal that’s both versatile and flavorful. Soup is stepping in to fill the gaps. It’s also proving to be a versatile canvas for introducing new flavors to customers, as well as being easier to execute for operators. https://goo.gl/Ciwrox
JG Neil Suggestions: With the approaching summer season, add perennials favorites such as chowders to the menu. Talk to us about NORPAC’s versatile range including New England Clam Chowder, Captain’s Corn Chowder and Smoked Salmon Corn Chowder to evoke summer in a bowl.
6. Sandwich Reset: Back to Basics
By returning to the original components of iconic sandwiches and tweaking minimally—better ingredients, subtle additions—smart chefs are making the most of not reinventing the wheel. https://goo.gl/epLqC0
JG Neil Suggestions: It’s tempting to try new sandwich combinations, but remember that the old favorites are still popular such as ham and cheese sandwiches, Italian subs, chicken salad sandwiches, French dips, grilled cheese and more. For a sandwich dressing with a kick, consider Armanino Pesto Sauce Chipotle, or combine Armanino Pesto Basil with mayo; these products are available through distributors. Please contact JG Neil and Company for distribution information.
7. All Day Customization
From breakfast to late-night snacks and everything in between, a common thread runs through diners’ modern desires; they want it their way, all day. The ability to customize a meal is one of the most important factors to millennials and Gen Z customers. Popular ideas include dips and sauces, grilled sandwiches, kebobs, international dishes, stir fry and tacos. https://goo.gl/CDPe3M
JG Neil Suggestions: Talk to us about sourcing a wide variety of ingredients to satisfy customization dishes featured such as Krono Gyro meat, Krono pita bread and Tzatziki sauce, cheese options from Emmi Roth, Hills Meats gourmet bacon, tortillas from Fresca Mexican Foods and sauces from MegaMex Foodservice: Embasa and La Victoria.
8. Hot Dog Season
Summer is almost upon us and that means barbecues, baseball, summer events and parties. During Hot Dog Season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs or 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period.
JG Neil Suggestions: At this time of year, we see a trend in restaurants and food service operators putting their own stamp on hot dogs. Consider a range of ideas to keep your customers delighted such as:
- Guinness® Beer Brats from Rose Packing smothered in tasty Fire Roasted Salsa from Pacific Coast Producers
- Bacon-wrapped hot dogs featuring Pepper Bacon from Hills Meats
- Dogs smothered in guacamole from Wholly Guacamole with a dash of Mango Habanero Sauce from La Victoria
- Vegetarian options such as Tofurky Hot Dogs or Breakfast Links