US Foods Eyes Rising Appetizer Trend
- by Laura Hillen
ROSEMONT, IL – As consumers and star chefs alike experiment with the state of their plates, US Foods has noted a particular rising trend that can boost the possibilities of produce; appetizers.
“Starters are a perfect fit with today’s most important lifestyle trends: downsizing of portions and prices; sharing and sampling; on-the-go eating; and around-the-clock grazing,” the company stated on its website.
As this section of the menu booms in both restaurants and home kitchens, US Foods has put forth a list of key trends, viewable here. Some of the selections also serve to boost consumption of produce, in addition to answering the convenience and health demands of consumers.
So, which selections have been helping move produce to the center of the appetizer plate?
Our industry is no stranger to the power of fresh produce paired with a tasty hummus, and consumers are becoming savvy to the trend as well. More restaurants are pairing tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and more with their traditional and healthy selections of this Mediterranean dip.
The rise of appetizers isn’t limited to their popularity, with the offerings growing height-wise as well. Picked up by heavy-hitter names like Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Bahama Breeze, these appetizers pair fresh fruits and veggies like mango, avocado, and jalapeños with the flavor profiles of delicacies like crab and shrimp. There’s only one direction to go from here as these creations allow for more produce to be included in the endless possibilities of a stacked dish.
What once was sold by vendors in high-traffic cities has moved its way indoors and onto the menu. With famous restaurants and chefs serving up dishes inspired by the Far East, Middle East, Caribbean, and Latin America, produce can elevate these selections at all price levels. Using selections like street tacos as its vehicle, items like these can be enhanced with avocado, guacamole, cucumber, and more.
My personal favorite, this time-honored selection is merging two things consumers hold dearly; toast, and tomatoes. US Foods has noted that toasted garlic bread or a grilled baguette can really pop with a caprese or roasted Portobello with artichoke sauce, with foodservice chains adding their own produce like red onion, capers in lemon juice, and tomatoes.
US Foods noted that this menu section isn’t only on the rise in consumer eyes, but also with their culinary creators. The appetizer or starter dish allows chefs free creativity and allows strong flavors and fresh ingredients to star.
As buy-side chefs, consumers, and restaurants all look to the appetizer menu, what produce trends will pop up next? AndNowUKnow will keep you apprised.