Breads will be bountiful this fall as consumers start to nestle in for what has been predicted to be a long winter for most of the U.S. We all remember the low carb diet phase that pushed anything with carbs to the side and hailed high protein options. Now operators are seeing demand rise for a variety in food choices, which includes a broadening assortment of grains and starches with roots in ethnic foods.
Creating Distinction - Consumers now understand the need for whole grains in their diet, seeking out "artisan", "natural" or "home-style" in their bread choices. These words alone can add value and increase profits. But savvy consumers know it's also about eating breads made with whole grains that are a good part of overall nutrition. Fast casual restaurants, cafes and even some QSRs, are offering whole grain options at an upcharge to consumers which can increase profits without increasing labor.
Fresh Baked - Sandwich shops have known for years, and consumer research shows, that the mouthwatering aroma of baking bread is a powerful signal that quality, freshness and excitement awaits. Operators from fine dining to convenience stores are incorporating fresh bread into their operations either by making from scratch or using par baked breads that finish cooking in store.
White vs. Wheat - Diners seek more variety in breads and grains stepping away from traditional. Flatbreads are a hot trend, presumably as customers see them as a lower carb/calorie option. Some out-of-the-way flatbreads have begun to appear on the scene such as Middle Eastern Pitas and Lavosh, East Indian Naan and Chapatis, and Asian Bai Sa Bing. Italian varieties like Focaccia and Ciabatta are popular and easily customized with flavored oils or herbs. Latin-American influences like grilled, pressed Cuban sandwiches are appearing in more mainstream restaurant menus. You may also see Arepas, small cornmeal breads that can be stuffed with ingredients ranging from eggs and other proteins to salads and fruit preserves. Ethnic influences and demand for whole food or gluten-free options is also reflected in formerly less common grains like black rice, quinoa, and amaranth.
Seasonal Offerings - Breads and starches are easy to add to and remove from menus and more operators are discovering that interesting breads and grains tied to the season are perfect limited-time offers. Things like Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day to sweet breads like pumpkin or cranberry orange for winter holidays, and wild rice in the fall.
Delivering on the consumers desire for fresh baked, healthier artisan breads is made easier with Manitowoc Foodservice equipment like Merrychef® eikon® series which allows you to bake, toast or warm bread in the front of the house, creating sensory appeal for customers . Convotherm® Combi Ovens for larger operations can be used for baking bread while preparing other menu items reducing overall equipment needs. Both the Merrychef and Convotherm have easyTouch® screen technology that allows operators to program settings for their menu items and allows staff to easily access them by touching the image onscreen. This technology ensures each item is prepared to perfection while managing labor and waste. Learn more about the features and benefits of Merrychef and Convotherm Combi ovens