Ramp Up Your 2019 Beverage Menu With These New And Exciting Beverages.

Innovative and functional 2019 beverages are in demand

Beverage Trends 2019

What beverages will consumers be drinking this year? If you are a foodservice professional looking to ramp up your 2019 beverage menu, here are some of the latest food-and-drink trends to follow.

Exciting, New Drinks in Demand

According to the experts, there has never been a more exciting time to be in the beverage industry. As beverages are fitting into consumers’ lives in more areas than ever before, innovation is on the rise in every segment of the market. Fresh, exciting, new drinks are in demand, driven by increased consumer interest in convenient, functional, healthy, nootropic (brain-boosting) drinks; non-alcoholic, gourmet, sour, and fruity drinks; as well as new hot and cold brew options. This coupled with innovations in the water industry make the beverage industry a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, expect to see a direct parallel between 2019 beverage selections and food industry trends, which are playing a role in what consumers are drinking.

Beverages with a Benefit

Demand for functional beverages are on the rise, with consumers thirsty for drinks that not only quench their thirst, but which offer some kind of health advantage as well. According to the research firm Mintel, this includes probiotic drinks that are good for your gut and that feature ‘superfood’ ingredients such as kava, maca, and mushrooms, as well as low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; drinks with anti-flammatory properties; and ‘adaptogenic’ beverages containing health-boosting herbs, such as medicinal mushrooms. These are increasingly found in drinks, teas, powders, and tinctures.

Convenience is another form of function in beverages, dramatically boosting sales of ready-to-drink options for consumers who are on-the-go, including students, professionals, millennials, and even stay-at-home moms in charge of carpools.

Fermented Beverages

Americans are sweet on sour! Sour, tart, and tangy beverage tastes are also in demand, paralleling trends in the fermented food market. This means that you can expect to see sales of sour beers increase, as well as drinks such as kefir, kombucha, pickle juice, and drinks where vinegar is a featured ingredient. While none are yet enjoying the same popularity of trending kombucha, gaining appeal in 2019 are fermented/probiotic teas, fruit juices with chia seeds, apple cider, yogurt-based drinks, and other beverages endorsed by health-and-wellness experts. According to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage Report, other ‘sour’ options gaining foodservice menu traction are shrubs, various ciders, and tonics in flavors such as turmeric, ginger, charcoal, and ginseng.

Continue reading Ramp Up Your 2019 Beverage Menu With These New And Exciting Beverages.

How To Add Trending New Sea Vegetables and Edible Seaweeds To Your 2019 Menu

Sea vegetables and edible seaweeds make their menu debut

Seaweed Consumption on the Rise

If you run a foodservice business and want to know what’s trending in the industry and what is expected to increasingly appear on 2019 restaurant menus everywhere, it’s time to learn all about the seaweed, aka sea vegetables. Recent Nation’s Restaurant News headlines reveal that seaweed is experiencing a tide of popularity, while James Griffen, an associate professor at Johnson & Wales University, reports that consumption of seaweed is growing 7% annually in the United States – and for good reason. Bursting with a rich array of nutrients and associated with multiple scientifically proven health benefits, the growing appetite for sea vegetables such as nori, kombu, and wakame is not expected to wane anytime soon.

What are Sea Vegetables?

So, what exactly are sea vegetables and how can you add seaweeds to your recipes and menus? Neither plant nor animal, sea vegetables are classified under a group known as algae. Also referred to as edible seaweed, they grow in marine salt waters as well as fresh water lakes and seas and are commonly found on coral reefs or in rocky landscapes. While relatively new to the Western palate, seaweed varieties have been a staple of Japanese diets for millennium. Remarkably, while some types of sea vegetables require soaking for 5-10 minutes before adding them to your recipes or dishes, most require no cooking or sautéeing whatsoever. Due to growing demand, while once available only in specialty shops and health food stores, you can now increasingly find seaweed varieties in local supermarkets and grocery stores as well.

Types of Edible Seaweed

Seaweeds are categorized into three main groups, based on color:

  • Green Seaweed: Rich in chlorophyll; found in dark leafy greens and other green vegetables
  • Red Seaweed: Especially high in carotenoids; known to have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Brown Seaweed: Formidable source of iodine; popularly referred to as ‘kelp’

Continue reading How To Add Trending New Sea Vegetables and Edible Seaweeds To Your 2019 Menu

Learn The Latest in Chocolate News

Ruby chocolate and new chocolate menus and recipes make their debut

What’s New in Chocolate?

Attention chocoholics, chefs, and anyone working in the foodservice industry: If you’re wondering what’s new in chocolate these days, you are in for a treat! There is a new kid on the choco block and the decadent temptation has a new look, a new texture – and yes, even a new flavor!

But before we indulge in the latest sweet sensation, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane and look at the state of an industry which has more than passed the test of time and taste…

Chocolate Bliss

In the words of Charles M. Schulz: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Ah, the sweet sound and flavor of even just hearing the word “chocolate…” By far one of the worlds’ oldest and most beloved aphrodisiacs, it’s no wonder that the current staples – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate – are a part of almost every menu and a feature item in so many desserts. In fact, according to market research firm Datassential, eateries continue to use chocolate in new and innovative ways, a fact indicative of its enduring popularity.

Larry Wilson, vice president of customer relations at the National Confectioners Association (NCA), further notes that whether as a stand-alone food or as a recipe ingredient: “Chocolate is a very popular product …It grows in demand during good economic times and is recession resistant.”

Currently, dynamics in the chocolate industry are reflecting general food trends for 2019, where consumers are increasingly interested in the content of what they are eating: “People are looking more at specific types of foods,” says Maeve Webster, Datassential senior director. “It’s not just tomatoes, but heirloom tomatoes; not just coffee, but dark roast. People want to know the specifics of what they are eating, so generic chocolate is not as impactful as it was.”

Continue reading Learn The Latest in Chocolate News

Creating a Wow Factor With The Hottest Trends in Catering and Food Presentation Styles

Innovative styles of food presentation and catering take center stage.

Food Presentation Gets a Modern Facelift

Attention Caterers and Restaurant Owners: Did you know that the catering industry is now a $1.7 billion/year business? Given these National Association of Catering Executives statistics, it is no wonder that new methods of catering and diversified styles of food presentation are on the rise. In this dynamic, competitive milieu, you have a unique opportunity to rise to top of your foodservice game. Stay up-to-date with the latest service styles and keep your ear to the ground – and your eyes on the prize – for food presentation sensations that are turning heads in 2019.

Creating a Wow Factor

The success of your business, as always, depends in large part upon your understanding of the costs, efficiencies, and logistics of planning a catered affair and how to orchestrate each event to resounding success. How you plate your menu offerings and decorate your tables are another known success strategy in the biz.

In recent years, however, food presentation has experienced a modern-day facelift, and it is creating a ‘wow factor’ that has now become the point of differentiation between services. Standing out from the crowd by presenting classic dishes in novel ways or by concocting tomorrow’s next pièce de résistance is the recipe for culinary stardom, as well as a key to customer satisfaction.

Continue reading Creating a Wow Factor With The Hottest Trends in Catering and Food Presentation Styles

What’s Hot in Wedding Dessert Trends?

Exciting wedding desserts are trending, replacing the traditional wedding cake.

New in Wedding Dessert Trends

What’s trending in wedding desserts for 2019? If you are planning on catering weddings in the coming year, you have to come to the right place. Our blog last year highlighted the hottest wedding foods for 2018; this guide will give you an updated scoop on what sweet concoctions the experts predict will appear on reception tables everywhere. To cater a memorable event that is guaranteed to make your foodservice memorable, read on for some of the most innovative, wacky, and wonderful wedding dessert ideas your palate has ever imagined.

Wedding Desserts Expected to Be Huge in 2019

What wedding desserts are expected to climb the charts in 2019? Creating a ‘wow’ factor is what it’s all about. From creative confectionary displays in unconventional shapes and sizes to personalized treats in groundbreaking flavors and textures, tomorrow’s wedding desserts are a perfect way to showcase your chef’s culinary talents and to keep your clients wanting more.

While traditional wedding desserts are not entirely out of the picture, new on the horizon are some of the following scrumptious selections, including some rather avant-garde choices:

  • Customized Ice Cream Stations
  • Pie Buffets
  • Mini Pie-Pops
  • Exotic Fruit Trees
  • Donut Towers
  • Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri Donuts
  • Waffle and Cookie Bars
  • Champagne Flutes

Continue reading What’s Hot in Wedding Dessert Trends?

Soft Cheeses Come in a Variety of Types and Can be Used in a Range of Ways

Soft Cheeses: Flavorful, Spreadable, and Special

Soft Cheeses

Although when you think of cheese, you may think immediately of hard, yellow cheeses with their many uses and great varieties, don’t overlook soft cheeses when you’re looking to infuse your next catered event with a tray-ful of flavor. The difference between the many soft cheeses on the market can be subtle, but to the experience palate they are distinct and significant. Some versions of soft cheese work better in certain settings and for many people they are an acquired taste. In any case, learn about soft cheeses here so you can use them at the next possible opportunity.

A Guide to Soft Cheeses

Many people – including caterers – are not that proficient about using a full range of soft cheeses. Beyond putting out a plate of Brie and crackers on a buffet table, many caterers – even those who consider themselves cheese-savvy – don’t give soft cheeses much thought.

Soft cheese can be made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk and come from countries and places around the globe. Common types of soft cheese are feta, Brie, ricotta, cream cheese, Camembert, Chevre, Roquefort, and gorgonzola, and – of course – cottage cheese. All these cheeses have a special tangy creaminess that no other food imparts.

Hard Cheese vs. Soft Cheese

Soft cheese is un-ripened cheese made by coagulating casein (milk proteins) with acid. Hard cheeses, on the other hand, are aged (ripened), and made by coagulating milk proteins with rennet and culture acids. The ripening process is aided by bacteria or mold. Cheddar, Swiss, Colby, brick and Parmesan are types of bacteria-ripened hard cheeses. Because aging reduces the moisture level in the cheese, hard cheese is drier (and harder) than soft cheese. And, because, bacteria doesn’t grow as easily in dry conditions as in moist ones, hard cheeses keep longer than soft cheeses.

Continue reading Soft Cheeses Come in a Variety of Types and Can be Used in a Range of Ways

Learn About Butter’s Renaissance and How You Can Make Your Own

Butter is Making a Comeback and It’s Better Than Ever

Butter is Back

Butter is having a renaissance. As a growing number of consumers try to avoid foods that are perceived as artificial and unhealthy, such as vegetable oil-based margarine, butter is experiencing a revival. The food pendulum is always swinging and what is shunned one year can be embraced the next. So it’s not surprising that butter – natural, fresh from the farm, and simply delicious – is staging a comeback. And, like many foods of late, the fancier the better. Premium innovations from national brands, as well as from regional family-owned creameries and artisan culinary professionals, are helping drive the better-butter business and it seems like the sky is the limit.

Americans Love Butter

Back in 2014, food author/expert Mark Bittman wrote in The New York Times that “Butter is Back,” and the trend that he predicted is continuing. Consumers are buying more butter at the retail level and chefs are cooking more with butter, as well. Recently, McDonald’s announced that it would switch from vegetable oil to real butter to grill eggs and to spread on toast, English muffins, and bagels. Signs in branches now state, “We cook with real dairy.”

Butter is at a 40-year high in per-capita consumption, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2016, volume sales for butter were more than 735 million pounds, representing a significant increase from the previous year. Volume sales of margarines and spreads, on the other hand, were down 7.1%. In terms of dollar sales, butter was at about $2.8 billion (up 2.7%) during the same period, while margarine showed a decrease of 7.8%, down to $1.4 billion. These stats are even more surprising when you consider that ordinary butter is about two or three times the price of margarine, while premium butters often command more than five times the price per pound of margarine.

Continue reading Learn About Butter’s Renaissance and How You Can Make Your Own

Create Exciting and Stimulating Events Using Multi-Hued Foods

Use Colorful Foods to Highlight Your Catered Events

Catering Clients Crave Color

For many reasons, color is a caterer’s best friend. Colorful décor and multi-hued accessories can create a festive atmosphere that boosts enthusiasm levels even before the food arrives. Color energizes the senses and puts people in the right mood for a party. When the food comes out and it is colorful and attractive, well, you’ve captured the attention and triggered the excitement of everyone present and, after all, that’s the goal of every successful caterer.

Colorful Food Takes on New Meaning

As recently as a few years ago, rainbow food was all about health and nutrition; only recently, did “rainbows” and “unicorns” begin to mean Instagram-friendly foods that look great through the camera’s lens. Regardless of why you’re serving colorful foods, however, it looks fabulous and is attractive and appetite-whetting.

Healthy-eating advocates often tell people to “eat the rainbow.” It’s a simple way of reminding people that a variety of fruits and vegetables in one’s daily diet will afford all the vitamins and minerals people need. The concept of eating the rainbow was particularly popular a few years ago – but the legitimacy of the idea hasn’t waned since then – when dietitians, doctors, and other health advisors used the phrase to get people—especially children—to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. It’s a nice catchphrase, but behind the Madison Avenue advertising lies the science that explains why a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables can be both pleasing to the eye and good for your health.

Continue reading Create Exciting and Stimulating Events Using Multi-Hued Foods

Use Edible Flowers, One of the Hottest Trends of the Year

Stay on Top of the Latest Trends by Using Edible Flowers

How to Use Edible Flowers

Cooking with edible flowers is once again a trend. After going out of style for many years, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue and on the buffet tables at catered events everywhere. As a savvy caterer, it’s time for you to embrace the edible flower trend to add a touch of elegance to all your affairs.

The Use of Edible Flowers Goes Way Back

In “The Edible Flower Guide: Cooking with Flowers from the Garden,” the Gardening Channel offers advice and tips on using edible flowers safely and beautifully, and lists the many edible varieties, including those we’ll mention below. As the site explains, edible flowers are experiencing a renaissance, of sorts. They’re popping up everywhere – on top of wedding cakes, in cocktails and even in soups and salads. And not just the usual and well-known edibles, like lavender or nasturtium; in addition to the tried-and-true favorites, other flowers, like pansies, tulips, violets, and orchids are getting the culinary treatment.

Continue reading Use Edible Flowers, One of the Hottest Trends of the Year

Discover the International Breakfast Food Trend

Ethnic Foods are Transforming the Traditional Breakfast Buffet

The Breakfast Trend Goes Global

Buffets, in general, and breakfast buffets, in particular, are hugely popular at catered events, and the trend seems to be gaining steam. However, because there is no rest for the weary, and because caterers can never rest on their laurels, smart caterers are always looking for ways to increase the intrigue and allure of their menu offerings. Enter the internationally inspired breakfast – the hottest trend in catered affairs.

A New Twist to an Old Stand-By

While pancakes and waffles never go out of style, and omelet stations are still an integral part of breakfast buffets, the savvy caterer is now going beyond the U.S. borders and incorporating foreign flavors and international dishes in their breakfast menus. According to the National Restaurants Association, 68% of the American Culinary Federation Chefs surveyed chose ethnic-style breakfast food as one of the hottest trends of 2018.

Continue reading Discover the International Breakfast Food Trend