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Time-Saving Solutions to Boost Culinary Efficiency

March 18, 2022

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 3 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 proteins such as Korean-Style Meatless Meatballs (US) and Gnocchi with Plant-Based Bolognese (Brazil) 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
 

3 TRENDS TO WATCH 



 

LOCATION:
Convenience will be found in even more foodservice spaces, with brands and retailers delivering meal solutions through vending machines, pop-ups and branded partnerships.

FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS:
Wellness attributes will be an area of continued focus within the snacking space as consumer prioritize their mental health.

 

AUTOMATION:
Technological advances, such as robots and enhanced point-of-sale systems, will serve as ways to optimize operations.  

 

Segment snapshot

COMMERCIAL FOODSERVICE:
To ease the impact of the pandemic and labor shortages, distributors are developing prepared solutions while operators are streamlining menus and innovating within operations.

NON-COMMERCIAL FOODSERVICE:
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.

PROCESSORS:
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.”

THREE RECIPES, ONE SAUCE

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.





 

 
 


CREATING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY

At Griffith Foods, 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.
 

 

CHEF TIP



“In the age of convenience, we must also be aware of the environmental impact of food packaging. Consider ways to reduce waste, with more eco-friendly reusable, compostable and biodegradable containers for meal kits, to-go orders and delivery.”

–Chef Mark Serice, Vice President Global Culinary, Griffith Foods* 
 

culinary inspiration

Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using Griffith Foods products. 

 
Samfaina:

This straightforward, versatile Spanish sauce is commonly used for braising but is adaptable to multiple menu applications. It consists of eggplant, tomato, onion, olive oil and roasted peppers.
 
All of the following recipes feature: Griffith Foods Spanish-style Samfaina Sauce, Griffith Foods Sofrito Seasoning, Griffith Foods Spanish Chorizo Sausage Seasoning


Olive-Oil-Poached Cod with Samfaina Ragout

A fresh center-cut Pacific cod fillet slowly cooked in a rich blend of tomato, eggplant, roasted peppers and olive oil. Finished with house-cured Arbequina olives and fine threads of crispy fried scallion.

Sauce: Griffith Foods Spanish-style Samfaina Sauce
Seasoning: Griffith Foods Sofrito Seasoning, Griffith Foods Spanish Chorizon Sausage Seasoning



Rigatoni with Crisp Pancetta, Samfaina “Red Gravy” and Goat Cheese

Fresh tomato passata, eggplant, garlic and roasted peppers, reduced and tossed with rigatoni pasta. Topped with pancetta, rendered crisp in a cast iron pan, and served with thinly shaved caprino goat cheese.

Sauce: Griffith Foods Spanish-style Samfaina Sauce
Seasoning: Griffith Foods Sofrito Seasoning, Griffith Foods Spanish Chorizon Sausage Seasoning




 



 

Arroz al horno with Samfaina Sauce

Slow-cooked tomato, eggplant, fava beans, chorizo and calamari, folded into bomba rice. Baked in the oven until tender with a crisp top crust.

Sauce: Griffith Foods Spanish-style Samfaina Sauce
Seasoning: Griffith Foods Sofrito Seasoning, Griffith Foods Spanish Chorizon Sausage Seasoning

 
 



CULINARY
PERSPECTIVE

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.

Listen to the podcast

© 2022 Custom Culinary. All rights reserved.
*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