Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Plant-based protein continues its climb
Is there a rush on plant-based protein at your restaurant? If so, you’re not alone: According to new research from NPD Group, shipments of plant-based protein from foodservice distributors to restaurants were up 60 percent in April compared to the same month last year (and up by double-digit margins over 2019 as well). That growth persisted across alt-protein categories including plant-based beef, chicken, fish and conventional plant-based options like grains, nuts, vegetables, tofu and tempeh. And the rise of plant-based protein may be just getting started. Plant-based restaurants are popping up, even on the high end – like Eleven Madison Park in New York. Meanwhile, universities are developing programs based on the study of cellular agriculture and companies are investing in fermentation technology that could rapidly expand plant-based and even animal-plant hybrid proteins in the years ahead, the Spoon reports. As more players enter the market, expect increasing differentiation in plant-based proteins, such as options with global seasonings, premium options, and even plant-based proteins made in-house at restaurants, Technomic predicts. In your restaurant, it’s a good time to test your guests’ openness to alt-protein options and to assess how incorporating more of these items could support your operation through extending the shelf life of your ingredients, minimizing waste and shrinking your carbon footprint.
Strengthen your supply chain IQ
Even Starbucks, a brand name synonymous with anticipating and meeting consumer demands, has been facing supply shortages lately. As the New York Times reported recently, the brand has been struggling to source key ingredients in its popular drinks and food items, as well as packaging products. There is likely more of this to come as food distributors look to source new-and-improved ingredients to suit consumer tastes, all while managing factors ranging from labor shortages to disease to extreme weather that can suddenly impact an ingredient’s availability. Your technology is a critical tool to help you minimize your risk of running short on key supplies – or at least be aware of when it’s likely to happen so you can adjust promotions and menu options proactively. For example, your digital supply chain tracking system should allow you to see your network of suppliers, enable you to spot fluctuations in demand in real time, respond to changes in supply forecasts, and place orders as demand requires – as opposed to according to a set schedule. It should also help you spot problems in your supply chain, so if there is a foodborne illness outbreak, you’re better able to respond quickly to sequester the ingredient responsible and source replacements.
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