How to use trends within the care sector
Our top tips!
- Experiment with your offering
- Explore new flavours
- Eyes on the chef…
- Enjoy grab & go!
- Encourage joyful mealtimes
Catering within the care setting is full of complexities. Each and every resident has different needs and enjoys different foods. At Bidfood, we strive to create innovative dishes that inspire all our customers; help support and ultimately add value to their everyday service. Our chef innovation team regularly creates new dishes and re-imagines techniques, ingredients and disrupts the norm when it comes to all things food.
When researching or gathering inspiration they not only follow our yearly trends but they find inspiration directly from our customers. Recently, Culinary Development Chef Wayne Wright took Hallmark Care Homes on a food safari along with Eddie Hoyle, Emily Butler and Cally Ip. We enjoyed a day around London exploring the latest in food innovation. Check out some of our top tips inspired by what we saw and how the latest food innovations can be utilised within the care sector.
Experiment with your offering
We kick started our journey in Borough Market. The market is famed for top quality food from all around the world and for creating the ultimate foodie hotspot. The market was filled with fresh vegetables, colourful fruits and offered an array of new, exotic flavours. From Mangosteens to Tamarillo, it was clear to see new enthusiasm for bold raw ingredients. Often within the care sector, it can be a challenge to switch up residents meals.
However, why not begin to introduce new fruits or vegetables that perhaps are not the typical offering to not only help residents explore new flavours but to also add a twist on regular recipes. Even adding them onto a standard fruit platter might help spark the interest of some residents, diversify your food offering and encourage them to engage more with food.
Explore new flavours
After taste testing peach profiteroles, fresh sourdough and even a ‘crookie’ (cookie dough baked in a croissant!), we then headed across to the tube station. After a quick journey, we arrived at Camden Market. The hub for sweet, savoury and every else in-between. From the start it was clear a bold new trend had arrived at Camden and taken the market by storm… tropical.
The use of tropical flavours was extremely prominent within desserts, marinades, chutneys and more. This was a great takeaway from our day. Introducing new flavours is a chance to help keep your residents engaged with menus, adds a subtle twist to your famed dish and allows your whole home to explore different themes.
Eyes on the chef…
Throughout the market you couldn’t miss chefs hard at work. From giant paella dishes to pulling pizza dough, it was all eyes on the food. By showcasing the meals getting made, it perked the interest of passers-by and even helped validate peoples purchasing decisions.
Although not always appropriate or achievable, could there be an opportunity within the care setting to show the residents more of what goes on behind the scenes. By doing so, it may knock down any barriers to food, stimulate the senses, and trigger an appetite from the lovely smells wafting through the dining area.
Enjoy grab & go!
When thinking about grab & go options, it might not necessarily be care sector catering that springs to mind. However, after exploring some of Camden’s best grab & go, it got us all inspired on how these could be utilised in a care home setting. From Mac ‘n’ cheese pots to quorn sliders, creating smaller versions of a main in an easy to pick up style might help your residents engage more in your offering as well as encourage snacking throughout the day where appropriate.
You can have fun with the style of grab and go, whether served as a canapé style or in a pot – you can even serve your residents favourites in smaller sizes to really follow that Grab and Go concept. Our favourite grab and go was the Mac ‘n’ cheese… we tried the ‘Super Mario’, a simple base of macaroni but topped with sautéed mushrooms, garlic and white truffle oil.
It really showed that a grab and go option does not always need to be a fancy dish or a highly skilled offering, sometimes it’s just about adding a little variety in your service. Plus, ‘picky bits’ are a great option for residents with limited manual dexterity to help them maintain their independence.
Encourage joyful mealtimes
Following our 2022 trend of ‘decadent desserts’ and ‘experience matters’, we decided to head to Hansel & Gretel dessert parlour… Immediately greeted with huge lollipops hanging from the ceiling and every ice-cream flavour you can imagine, it was clear to see it created a unique, positive experience.
Within the care sector, utilising the time around serving the food to really exploring how you can serve the food in an out of the box way could encourage great resident engagement and inspire them to actively try new foods. Why not create your own frozen yoghurt parlour complete with props, activities and new flavours… all to help encourage joyful mealtimes.
The latest in food innovation evolves each and every day. It is important to always look to the latest trends or new recipes and adapt them to fit within the care setting. We have lots of recipe inspiration and support on Bidfood direct that utilise these trends, you can learn more here.
To further help support you, we also have Caterers Campus! An online e-learning platform filled with modules from catering for diabetes to catering for dementia. To learn more about Caterers Campus and how it can help your home, visit here.