Opies offer advice on how caterers can help tackle latest food trends

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Two fifths of UK adults say that eating healthily is of high importance to them and 47% of consumers claim they are trying to reduce their fat intake therefore it is important that caterers think about introducing healthier ingredients into their menus. But, with political uncertainty, more challenging trading and keeping food waste under control, ticking the ‘health box’ is just another thing to put chefs to the test. 

Balancing the healthy eating trend whilst minimising food waste is perhaps one of the most challenging issues. It is estimated that pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick service restaurants generate 600,000 tonnes of waste each year, which unfortunately go to landfill sites. In an ideal world, all elements of food and ingredients would be used in their entirety, but no matter how creative the Chef, this isn’t always a feasible proposition. 

“Sourcing high quality ambient ingredients will easily address food waste issues and obviously help operating profits, but, it’s vital that these type of products retain a healthy edge in order to meet the latest consumer trends” explains Daniel Duprat, foodservice manager at Bennett Opie Limited. 

“Making a small change like introducing ambient savoury preserves can help to check of consumers’ healthy food demands. Pickles are often naturally low in calories and saturated fat, but still deliver on taste. Due to their ambient storage conditions and long shelf life, this will also help tick the box for minimising food waste too. Whilst Gherkins, Olives and Cocktail Onions are traditionally used as accompaniments to platters and sharing boards, with a little imagination, they can also be used in dishes across many day parts. For example, Cocktail Onions, can be added to a tasty breakfast dish like Shakshuka, a lunchtime Buddha Bowl or pasta salads before using up the remainder for dinner service in a slow-cooked Beef Ragu or Vegetarian Stroganoff. Similarly, gherkins, although an essential to accompany burgers, they don’t need to be reserved to only top a beef patty. Try finely chopped gherkins stirred into potato salads, salsa or mixed into the mince of a lamb kofta.”  

“Approximately 20 billion consumers are seeking healthier options so it’s something that simply can’t ignore. competition across the restaurant market is very strong so failure to cater for consumer demands will likely lead to a loss of footfall to competitors. But, it’s just as important to introduce imaginative healthy menus and mix ambient with fresh ingredients to also minimise waste and boost operating profits.”