Substitutes for expensive food trends that are easier to prepare (and save you $$$)
Predicting food and restaurant trends has always been difficult – how is anyone to know whether oat milk, hemp milk, sesame milk or cashew milk will be the next big thing in coffee? Savvy cafes and restaurants pick and choose which trends to take on board and don’t get caught up in the hype of offering all the latest products. But sometimes catering for your customers’ desire for on-trend foods can add significantly to prep time and costs. So we’re looking at cheaper and easier swaps to some of today’s food trends that will still make your customers happy. Do yourself a favour and take some of these shortcuts…
Trend #1: Faux Meat
The plant-based eating craze has really taken off, with many venues adding faux meat to their menus, enabling vegans and vegetarians to order any of the meals on the menu with a plant-based protein that looks and tastes (almost) just like real meat. This is great, and hats off to the dedicated chefs who are managing this, but if you don’t quite have the time or budget to stretch to ordering faux meat every week consider plant based alternatives that are less processed. Chickpeas, veggie burgers, tofu are all quick and easy to prepare and still tick all the vegan boxes.
Trend #2: Paddock to Plate
Today consumers love knowing that the food they eat is sustainably, ethically and locally sourced so they can pig out without the weight on their conscience. Of course, we encourage you to source organic and sustainable ingredients whenever you can, but if it’s just adding too much to your bottom line have you considered investing in ugly veg? Haven’t heard of it? There are a number of vegetable producers around the country selling their less than perfect vegetables at cut-prices because the supermarkets won’t accept a wiggly carrot or a crooked zucchini even though they taste the same. Add ugly veg to your menu and let customers know you’re doing it – they’ll love your efforts to reduce waste and you’ll love the effect it has on your bottom line.
Trend #3: Keto
Paleo was only the beginning. If you thought the low-carb trend was coming to an end, think again. The Ketogenic diet is gaining popularity encouraging people to eat high-fat, low-carb foods. Expect demand for low carb burger buns and salad bowls to go through the roof. But of course, cutting out carbs also cuts out the lowest cost part of any meal, so your ingredient costs will go up too. Balance it out by investing in lower-cost high fat foods like nuts and seeds and low carb options like sandwich thins.
Trend #4: Kale
It used to be that kale conjured images of Birkenstock-wearing, long-haired hippies. Not anymore. Kale has gone mainstream thanks to green smoothies and kale chips, and everyone seems to be on board. Save yourself the time of de-stemming bunch after bunch by investing in frozen kale (which keeps your smoothies icy cold too!) and sneak some spinach in too as it’s much more cost-effective!
Keeping up with trends doesn’t have to break the bank and it certainly shouldn’t send your head chef into a head spin. Take a look at which trend your customers expect and which you can take on board, then get creative about ways to incorporate them into your menu. Are there any food trend hacks we’ve missed? Let us know on Facebook.