It’s no secret our friends in foodservice have faced some ups and downs in the last few years.
Add a global pandemic and economic concerns to what is already a demanding industry, and the list of foodservice challenges gets long: food shortages, cost increases, labor shortages, rising demand for plant-based menu items, quality concerns, spoilage, changing consumer trends…we could go on.
So, how do you even begin to meet these challenges and find success on the other side?
How about starting at the beginning – with your ingredients.
Convenient, clean, and innovative plant-based ingredients are the first step toward creating menus that appeal to consumers. More specifically, individually quick-frozen (IQF) ingredients can help you turn your menu items from headaches to heroes.
Here are 5 ways IQF ingredients can help simplify foodservice:
- Retained Freshness and Structure
- No Preservatives or Additives
- Reduced Food Waste
- Back-of-House Versatility and Efficiency
Retained Freshness and Structure
One of your first questions when considering using IQF ingredients might be, “How will this affect the quality of my dish?” Well, don’t be surprised if it improves the quality.
IQF technology allows ingredients to be “frozen in time,” preserving them at their freshest state. Standard freezing methods create large ice crystals that rupture cell walls and affect the structure of the ingredients. IQF processing allows for products to be quickly flash frozen in individual pieces, inhibiting large ice crystals from forming and producing a better-quality product for your dish.
No Preservatives or Additives
With more consumers looking at nutritional facts and ingredient lists, you may consider reducing the number of additives and preservatives in your dishes wherever possible. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice quality to achieve a cleaner label! The IQF process preserves fresh ingredients so well that other preservatives and additives are rendered completely unnecessary. So, your “basil” is BASIL, and your “kale” is KALE! Why complicate things when you don’t have to?
Reduced Food Waste
The qualities of IQF ingredients allow you to reduce food waste and, as a result, reduce expenses. With IQF, ingredients are easy to store and can last for quite some time in a standard freezer. And forget about thawing the entire box or bag only to use a fraction of it and throwing the rest out later. With IQF, flash-freezing technology results in a free-flowing product that can easily be measured, so you only need to use what you need at the time!
Back-of-House Versatility and Efficiency
Have we mentioned how versatile IQF ingredients are for your back-of-house (BOH) pantry? You can use IQF ingredients across multiple popular menu applications like dips, dressings, sauces, toppings, fillings, and more – saving time, supply costs and BOH storage space.
IQF ingredients can also help reduce labor costs and improve your BOH efficiency. Pre-prepared IQF ingredients mean less staff time spent on chopping, mincing, and preparing – just easily add the precisely-measured amount of IQF ingredients when needed.
With IQF, you can add complexity and sophistication to your dish without adding complexity and sophistication to your processes. For example, Fire ’n Ice® fire-roasted individually quick frozen vegetables make it easy to upgrade your foodservice offerings with a twist. Fire ‘n Ice vegetables are fire-roasted and flash frozen, creating a free-flowing, high quality IQF ingredient with a natural smokiness and artisan appeal for today’s adventurous consumer.
IQF ingredient blends can also conveniently help you add new and exciting flavors to your menu. In a recent report, 73% of consumers surveyed stated that whether a foodservice outlet offers new and exciting flavors helped determined if they visit.1 That same report also revealed that 72% of consumers surveyed say that promoting food from part of the globe they are unfamiliar with can help capture their attention in the foodservice sector.1 That means innovative IQF blends that include premium ingredients with authentic, global flavors can help entice customers to try new or enhanced menu items.
Importantly, the quality of an IQF ingredient is determined by the quality of the whole vegetable or herb that it is made of. If you can’t trust the source of the fresh product, you can’t trust the source of the frozen product. So, remember to look in the right place when you decide that IQF can be a difference maker for your menu items or product offerings.
1FMCG Gurus. Foodservice Strategies to Adopt in a Recessionary Environment. 2023.