How to energise menus with exciting and flexible products
Most days you’ll be thinking about energising menus in a way that keeps consumers happy but of course you will want it to be cost effective. The pressures of the high street and the vast options available for consumers means that it’s more important than ever.
When you’re looking to innovate your menu with new flavours, it’s important that the products are versatile enough to use on several different dishes across your menu so you can optimise your cupboard space. Off the back of this, I will go through some trendy and flexible products which I think will make a huge difference to your menus.
Keralan paste adds authentic Modern Indian flavours easily
I’m sure you are well aware of the rise in Modern Indian flavours, they’re everywhere at the moment. This trend stems from the various flavours from individual regions in India which are being discovered and brought over to the UK. This authenticity of dishes which has risen to prominence in the last few years has led to 75% of people in the UK wanting their food to be as authentic as possible.
Keralan paste is perfect if you are looking to add vegan, fun and flavoursome dishes to your offer. For a flavour-filled baguette, mix it into hummus to go with pakoras and mixed vegetables. It also combines really well with cauliflower, particularly when roasted. Why not use it as a flavour enhancer when mixing it into a coconut risotto for a vegan coconut arancini? What’s most appealing is that these recipes attract consumers looking for healthier meals, since most of the ingredients are a variety of different vegetables!
I “jus” can’t get enough…
Jus is a great product for adding tremendous depth and a great hit of rich flavour. Worryingly, 1 in 12 people thought “jus” is something you put in your hair.  I won’t recommend you do that. What I would recommend is thinking outside the box; Don’t only use jus in casseroles, soups, and gravies.
Veal jus is particularly good for its versatility, marinating beautifully when reduced with pulled beef and red wine. If you want a different way of mixing it for a burger, then reduce it down with maple syrup to use as a really nice glaze on a beef burger. If you are looking for something a bit different which taps into the Asian Appetites trend, then mix the jus with spices, honey and vinegar to create an oriental dip. Trust me, this is absolute heaven when it is used as a dip for duck and pork sausage rolls!
The UK is crazy for Pad Thai
The Asian appetite trend is the most requested food trend for lunch time. Pad Thai is one of those hugely popular flavours within this trend due to the popular sweet, salty and tangy flavour it has. Using a Pad Thai sauce is perfect for chefs as it saves time on creating the sauce and it means the same great flavour every time – so you have more time to be creative with it! You also don’t have to just limit it to being a sauce. It’s great for using it as a marinade to put under chicken skin before roasting it. If you are feeling extra creative, enhance the flavour by filling half a can of coke with water and placing it in the cavity of the chicken to then roast for an hour. I don’t even need to explain how good that makes it!
You don’t need to only use it on chicken. It also works really well with salmon and prawns if you want to make fish cakes, plus it combines really well when mixed with baked beans to serve with spiced scrambled egg/tofu. It’s no wonder that Pad Thai has become the 4th most popular oriental flavour in the UK!
Add a fiery umami kick to dishes
Over the last few years, Japanese flavours have been growing rapidly. This is largely down to how popular umami flavours have become. The flavour is created effortlessly when mixing salt flakes with seaweed and red chilli to add a fiery kick to your dishes. What’s good about it is that the mineral goodness of seaweed and antioxidants from chilli peppers are a great way of adding nutritional benefits to dishes. It blends perfectly to jazz up a salad when marinated onto chicken. Not only this, it works really well with salmon for a spicy stir-fry. However, if you are looking to do something unique, then why not consider sprinkling it onto the base of a flatbread to mix with kale and walnut salsa verde… delicious right?
These are just some ways to bring new flavours to your menu. Our aim is to support you with more of this through Fast Flexible Flavour which we have just launched the second phase for. The campaign is all around demonstrating the versatility of products we have in our range in different and innovative ways. This is great for flexing products, saving space, being creative/on-trend with menus, and helps with being more cost effective. Go to our Fast Flexible Flavour recipe page to see some of the recipes I have spoken about in the above or get in touch with us if there is anything we can do to help you further on this.
 Mintel, Why Indian Street Food is the next big thing for ready meals, 2018
 Gem and Bidfood research with 2,000 UK adults, 2019
 Bidfood & ABA, Daily Diets and menu planning, 2018
 Future of Oriental Food Report, 2018