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For today’s consumers, retailers and operators, solutions that minimize guess work and maximize flavor, convenience and accuracy are in high demand. At home, consumers want to simplify and elevate their meals, choosing retail options that deliver both convenience and global flavor. A whopping 79% of consumers indicate they have consumed prepared meals or side dishes in the past three months1 and usage will likely endure as the perception of these products continues to increase. Over three-fourths of consumers feel that the quality of prepared meals has improved in recent years.2 Plant-based protein meal components such as Korean-Style Meatless Meatballs and Chickpea Masala showcase these innovative offerings. Additionally, private label options bring familiarity and culinary excitement to a home cook’s repertoire, perfect for easy-to-prepare items like meal kits.
The desire to enjoy foodservice meals at home has amplified since the onset of the pandemic. Not only have consumers made a greater effort to stay in, but because operators have progressively improved their takeout, curbside and delivery options, using such avenues has become more appealing. These exciting opportunities have no doubt been conversely met with challenges. For operators, restaurants are being challenged to “do more with less” in all areas of operations. Maintaining the quality of takeout and delivery is essential, with pre-portioned meals, long hold times and sustainable packaging as key solutions. Curated meal kits (and beyond such as cocktail kits) are another way operators are delivering restaurant-quality experiences to their customers at home. Online company GoldBelly combines convenience, access and restaurant-quality food by allowing customers all over the country to order meal kits of “the nation's most iconic meals and dishes” directly from famous restaurants and chefs such as The Gramercy Tavern Burger four-pack from Gramercy Tavern in NYC to a Chicken, Pork, and Duck Foie Gras Canelones (feeds four to six) by Chef Jose Andres.
Back-of-house and front-of-house efficiencies have been key for operators to survive the effects of Covid-19. Chefs are simplifying menus to streamline operations and be able to better predict and control food orders. Even QSR giant McDonald’s simplified their menu during the pandemic to simplify operations for kitchens and staff.3 While talk of robotics has been buzzing for years, operators may find utilizing such machines imperative as restaurants continue to face labor shortages. Sweetgreen’s recent acquisition of Spyce shows this movement toward automation in the kitchen to lend a hand in execution, while allowing employees to tend to the personal and hospitable duties. Contactless payments are another convenience that can relieve staff of routine tasks and is becoming widely popular with patrons. Mastercard reports 79% of consumers worldwide now use contactless payment.4
Convenience will be found in even more foodservice spaces, with brands and retailers delivering meal solutions through vending machines, pop-ups and branded partnerships.
Wellness attributes will be an area of continued focus within the snacking space as consumer prioritize their mental health.
Technological advances, such as robots and enhanced point-of-sale systems, will serve as ways to optimize operations.
To ease the impact of the pandemic and labor shortages, distributors are developing prepared solutions while operators are streamlining menus and innovating within operations.
Unique grab and go items, order ahead services and packaging solutions are essential in serving noncommercial guests. Flexibility in dining options is especially key in College & University and Healthcare to cater to round-the-clock needs and busy schedules.
Chef Michael Smith, WCMC, CEC, AAC speaks to the support processors can provide. “Developing products and packaging options that make the production and execution of high-quality menu offerings is essential and more operators are realizing it. We are perfectly suited to help the industry right now and must leverage this position at every turn. Individual and smaller packaging is essential for efficiency. Even companies like Blue Apron have concluded that their direct consumers want less hand work and are now open to RTU options.”
Streamlined, optimized menus are the key to efficient operations, especially in today’s challenging foodservice environment. Watch Chef Mark Serice share his tips for cross-utilizing ingredients across multiple dishes and dayparts to maximize versatility.
At Griffith Foods* family of companies, we strive to embrace the principles of a circular economy. With a life cycle that includes sourcing, production, packaging, transportation, consumption and waste management, we are taking steps to examine the impact of our products across all business practices.
Take packaging, for example. In 2020, 92% of the paper- and fiber-based packaging we use for bags and corrugated boxes was FSC certified. Not only are we aiming to reach 100% FSC certification, but we have also set a target for 100% of all our packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
“The current Foodservice Operations environment is so stressed and desperate for skilled labor requiring creative solutions. Using Custom Culinary® ready-to-use and ready-to-eat sauces allow operators a trusted culinary partner in their kitchen and drive business success. The wide range of authentic global flavors expand your creativity with the same pantry ingredients by simply pairing with a different sauce. Many of the Custom Culinary® RTU and RTE global sauces are vegan, allowing you to add bold, exciting plant-forward recipes to your menu.
Custom Culinary® has a full range of chef-inspired products that enable new revenue opportunities for your business such as ghost kitchens, catering, high quality take out and even signature meal kits. Choose from larger 4-6 lb. authentic broths and sauces to individual portion pouches. Custom Culinary® global flavor solutions are ideal for each channel of the foodservice industry.”
–Chef Scott Gilbert, CEC, AAC, HGT
Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using Custom Culinary® products.
Serve authentic Asian flavor with our ready-to-eat ambient portion control pouches. A spicy and savory sauce with notes of garlic and chilies. This versatile Asian-inspired sauce is ideal for stir-fries and lettuce wraps. Try it as a glaze on grilled meats and seafood. Gluten Free. Vegan.
Hungry for more? Find additional recipes here.
All of the following recipes feature: Custom Culinary® Ambient Ready-to-Eat Portion Control Sauce
Chili garlic glazed vegetables, coconut jasmine rice, edamame, toasted sesame seeds.
Crispy Chinese 5-spice scallion battered chicken served with a garlic chili dipping sauce.
Lettuce cups filled with sautéed purple cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers and shredded chicken, drizzled with Custom Culinary® Gold Label Ambient Portion Control Chili Garlic Sauce and finished with crunchy chow mein noodles.
Perfect for delivery or grab & go meal kits!
Chef Speranza discusses how to adapt to change and streamline operations to increase operational effectiveness, value added solutions, and speed scratch formats that address the challenges of labor shortages.
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*Custom Culinary® is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies.
1,2, 3 Mintel, 2022 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report, January 2022
4 Mastercard, Mastercard Study Shows Consumers Globally Make the Move to Contactless Payments for Everyday Purchases, Seeking Touch-Free Payment Experiences, April 2020