Insights from Simplot Foods:
Vegetables owe their “moment in the sun” to the convergence of different generational values. Aging boomers trying to improve their health and live longer seek out vegetables for their well-documented nutritional benefits. Millennials and Gen Z patrons mindful issues like climate change and animal welfare appreciate their environmental benefits and sustainability relative to other food choices.
In 2020, you’ll see more food industry innovation to satisfy these twin motivations as chef’s find new ways to prepare and present plant-based menu items. Here some emerging trends to consider when it comes to vegetables in the coming year.
Roasted vegetables have been on a roll for over a decade, with roasted veg brands like Simplot RoastWorks™ helping make their preparation practical for fast-moving, labor-strapped foodservice operations. Grilling offers many of the same flavor notes as roasting, but in a more intense, almost meat-like depth. And don’t forget the visual intrigue of those parallel grill marks.
Quality Sales has these Roastworks items in stock:
Flame-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple Seasoning (#223)
Flame-Roasted Peppers & Onions (#20825)
According to the EPA, food waste represents the largest waste stream in the United States. In 2017, 75% of this waste wound up in landfills. The movement to curtail this appalling statistic is finally gaining momentum. The fact is inedible waste generation during the peeling and trimming of fresh vegetables preparation in restaurants is unavoidable. This is another occasion where frozen vegetables can offer a real advantage over fresh. In addition to their year-round availability, frozen veggies typically arrive in kitchens pre-cut and pre-trimmed, providing 100% edible yield. At Simplot, the inedible portions produced from vegetable processing are typically repurposed as animal feed, composted, or bio-digested to produce energy, conserving landfill space and cutting back an important source of kitchen waste.
Quality sales offers a full line of Simplot frozen vegetables
Soy has been the king of plant-based proteins for generations, but new sources are being tapped to try to minimize exposure to top allergens that might turn off today’s flexitarian eaters from plant-based foods. These alternatives include ancient grains like quinoa, an excellent source of plant-based protein, among other valuable nutrients. Beans are also an important source of plant based protein.
Quality Sales stocks canned and dried beans, including pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and black beans.
We also stock Simplot Ancient Grain & Kale Blend (#35046) which includes red and brown rice, red quinoa, black barley and kale.
In spite of the generalized trend toward plant-based foods, most Americans are loathe to give up animal protein altogether: less than 4% actually identify as vegans or vegetarians. That said, many Americans are actively trying to reduce their meat consumption. To match this trend, operators and food manufacturers have begun reducing the meat content of things like hamburger patties and sausages by cutting-in vegetables. The James Beard Foundation’s The Blended Burger Project was created to make burgers “better for customers and for the planet” by blending in at least 25% fresh mushrooms. Blending veggies into meat has the added benefit of lower operators’ food costs. The key is to promote the additional flavor that the vegetables add to the meat.
For many operators, the trend toward plant-based foods appeared to move from fringe to mainstream almost overnight. But the generational beliefs that brought veggies to the fore have been a long time coming— and they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that any operator can adapt to and capitalize on this trend with a few simple menu changes and appeal to this growing audience of health- and environmentally-conscious consumers.