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What’s new in casual dining?

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Casual Dining show, some of the best bits
Casual Dining show, some of the best bits

Related tags Casual dining Pudding

Boosting kitchen profitability was a major theme at this year's Casual Dining show and many suppliers aimed to please with a vast line-up of interesting new products. Here we've selected a few of the ones that stood out for us.

Moy Park​ revealed a range of 10 new chicken products developed to help operators take a bigger chunk of the casual-dining scene.

The range includes British chicken ballotine, katsu curry chicken melts, buttermilk wings and smoky barbecue chicken shanks.

Moy Park Shank
Moy Park's chicken shannk

Senior customer marketing manager Frannie Santos said: "In the dynamic, fast-paced world of casual dining, there is a consumer expectation for food concepts that offer something new and exciting.

"Tapping into key trends such as Americana, street food and spicy, as well as traditional British favourites with a twist, the range enables busy kitchens to quickly and simply create stand-out dishes."

Also focusing on the growing popularity of barbecue is condiments, oils and fats firm AAK Foodservice​, which has launched a range of new sauces for pulled meats.

AAK BBQ chicken
BBQ sauces from AAK

The three flavours of the Lion Brand Ambassador range was inspired by parts of the US's eating-out sector.

Slow-cooking flavours

AAK Foodservice brand ambassador Ben Bartlett said: "Barbecue and smoky, slow-cooking flavours have never been more popular.

"It isn't always practical or cost-effective for caterers to cook 'low and slow', roasting meats for hours on end."

Increasing margins on an already highly cash-generative product, such as chips, can be done, according to Aviko​.

With its new premium chip range, the firm claims operators can charge 48p more per serving, while a further 25p can be added for its chip seasoning product.

Chip seasoning with Aviko

General manager Mohammed Essa said: "That's more than 75p more per portion. With fries accounting for a massive 73% of the servings of potato products in the foodservice market, it really is time to cash in your chips."

Moving on to dessert, Nestlé Professional​, has called on operators to ensure their sweet offer is 'future proof', following figures from NPD Research that showed the sales of pudding had fallen by 8% year-on-year.

Finished desserts category manager Danielle Cartney, said: "With sales falling, now is the time for the casual-dining industry to make the dessert menu more than just an afterthought."

Impulse decision

She added: "For the majority of diners, deciding to stay beyond the main and order a dessert or coffee is an impulse decision... in fact, our research shows that only 7% of diners say they never eat dessert."

Gluten-free, the much talked about rising food trend, hasn't been missed off the dessert list. Destiny Foods ​has created a range of gluten-free sweets, including hot puddings, pre-cut tarts and cheese cakes.

Sticky toffee gf
Gluten-free desserts

Pubs with a customer base that's a little more conscious of calorie and fat content – and looking for an all-day-dining option – may be interested in frozen yoghurt.

Frozen yoghurt maker Coolicious ​has claimed the £149 million out-of-home frozen yoghurt market is set to grow 12% by 2019 to £167m, according to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​'s sister title M&C Allegra Report​.

Richard Drane, managing director of Coolicious's parent company Taste Trends, said: "More and more consumers are now eating outside traditional meal times and it's becoming increasingly important for operators to expand their menus to fit."

Frozen yogurt is growing in popularity

Meanwhile, equipment supplier Nisbets​ showcased a new Vogue Copper range of pans from Tri Wall, which, it claims, are an affordable stand-out product.

The firm said: "It's no secret that copper is the most effective material for cooking and as the temperature spreads evenly on all sides of the cookware, chefs can be confident that sauces are less likely to burn or separate."

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