Restaurant Customers Want Conscious, Convenient Brands

admin | December 12th, 2014 - 7:12 pm

New research from the Culinary Visions Panel found that restaurant consumers now want more than just good food, value and service when they dine out. They’re also more likely to choose an establishment that treats their employees well and supports their community. Data was collected from more than 1,200 consumers for the study, which focused […]

Saval Foodservice Looks Into the Future

admin | December 12th, 2014 - 1:33 pm

At Saval Foodservice, we had a tremendous year in 2014.  It has been one year since Sysco announced their intent to acquire US Foodservice and we have benefited from the uncertainty created in the foodservice supply chain.  I truly believe the marketplace is looking for a competent local broadliner that is a legitimate alternative to […]

Pastrami & Goat Cheese Pinwheels

admin | December 11th, 2014 - 12:37 pm

[your-recipe-will-show-here “Pastrami & Goat Cheese Pinwheels” 30]

Emerging flavors for 2015

admin | December 10th, 2014 - 7:10 pm

McCormick & Co. released its 15th annual flavor forecast on Wednesday, which called for more globalization of flavor. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Which flavors are in vogue for 2015? Here are a local’s annual predictions.

Bold, intense flavors likely will dominate next year, according to the 15th annual forecast, which highlights eight trends.
Many early trending flavors in past reports have become favorites of today. Take chipotle chile, for instance. First identified, this chile pepper as a flavor to watch in 2003, many people couldn’t pronounce it. Today, it’s a household name.
Other flavors and ingredients, such as pumpkin pie spice, sea salt, coconut water and cocktail-inspired flavors, have appeared on store shelves and restaurant menus after being identified in previous flavor forecasts.
Here are some food trends to watch, according to one of Maryland’s very own global team of chefs and experts:
– Global spice blends: Japanese 7 Spice, or Shichimi Togarashi, includes chilies, sesame, orange peel, nori and more, and flavors soups, noodle dishes, grilled meats and seafood. Shawarma Spice Blend, a Middle Eastern street food flavor, is made with cumin, cinnamon and black pepper and used on chicken, beef and lamb before grilling or roasting.
– Middle Eastern Mezze: Distinctive dips and spreads packed with herbs and seasonings.
– Sour and Salt: Combining coarse salt with sours such as pickled ginger, sour cherry, dried mango and lemon zest adds flavor and texture to vegetables, chicken, shrimp and rice.
– Smoked Spices: Smoking spices and herbs deepens their flavor and aroma.
– Umami Veggies: Umami flavor is found naturally in tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus and celery, otherwise known as the “fifth taste.
– Liquid Revolution: Fresh purees and juices blend with bold spices and herbs to intensify sauces, pasta, dressings and other food.
– Flavor Worth the Wait: Recipes that blend aromatic spices and other ingredients into slow-cooked meals.
– Cookies Re-imagined – Classic spiced cookie flavors take new form in desserts such as gingersnap creme brulee and peanut butter snickerdoodle tart with cinnamon peanut crust.
Source:, 12-2-14

Americans are Making Healthier Food Choices!

admin | December 10th, 2014 - 3:53 pm

Americans are Making Healthier Food Choices!

David Karp / David Karp

Way to go, America, you’re making healthier choices each and every day.

American adults are increasingly consulting food labels, eating less fat and downing more fiber, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

The report may be welcome news to those concerned about the nation’s obesity epidemic, but the restaurant industry might not relish the findings. Many of the improvements in the American diet are a result of driving past the drive-thru: Reduced consumption of food away from home (such as food from restaurants and fast food) accounted for 20 percent of the improvements in diet quality.

The report added: Calories consumed through food away from home dropped by 127 calories per day, and the average person ate three fewer meals and 1.5 fewer snacks per month away from home,” suggesting that every bit helps.

The report also suggests that Americans like nutritional information on restaurant menus, with 76% of working-age adults reported that they would use the information when available.

Perhaps more significantly, the survey of nearly 10,000 people suggests a changing attitude toward food and nutrition with respondents feeling more empowered about their ability to do something about an expanding waistline.

That could be a powerful tool in the fight against obesity.

When individuals believe that their actions directly affect their body weight, they might be more inclined to make healthier food choices.

The USDA’s press statement credited several federal initiatives for the brightening outlook, including MyPlate and its meal planning advice and shopping strategies, SuperTracker (an online food tracking tool), setting healthier guidelines for food and beverages sold in schools, and a 67% increase in the number of farmers markets around the country.

Americans have made significant progress, but our work is not done. The USDA will continue to invest in critical programs that expand the availability of healthy, safe, affordable food for all Americans.


Locally sourced meat is top restaurant trend for 2015

admin | December 9th, 2014 - 7:09 pm

Locally sourced meat and seafood will be the No. 1 restaurant food trend in 2015, a survey of 1,300 chefs predicts. New cuts of meat registered at No. 6 on the list of What’s Hot in 2015, put together by the National Restaurant Association from its annual survey of chefs. Rounding out the top five […]

Lower Gas Prices Yield Higher Restaurant traffic and sales in October

admin | December 8th, 2014 - 3:49 pm

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index posted solid gains in October, driven in large part to falling gas prices.

According to a news release, the RPI was 102.8 in October, up 1.8 percent from September.

The positive same-store sales and customer traffic results suggest that restaurants are the beneficiaries of falling gas prices, which were down 88 cents since the end of June.  Elevated food costs continue to top the list of challenges reported by restaurant operators, but overall they remain generally optimistic that business conditions will improve in the months ahead.

Current Situation Index

The RPI consists of two components – the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index, which measures same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, stood at 103.1 in October – up 2.1 percent from September.

A solid majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales in October, with results an improvement over September’s performance.  Seventy-one percent of reported a same-store sales gain between October 2013 and October 2014, up from 63 percent who reported higher sales in August.  Meanwhile, only 11 percent reported a same-store sales decline in October, down from 23 percent in September.

Respondents also reported stronger customer traffic results in October: 55 percent reported an increase in customer traffic between October 2013 and October 2014, up from 40 percent who reported higher traffic in September. In contrast, only 16 percent of operators said their traffic declined in October, down from 33 percent who reported similarly in September.

Along with stronger sales and traffic results, operators reported an increase in capital spending activity: 57 percent said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 49 percent who reported similarly last month.

Expectations Index 

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for the same four industry indicators, stood at 102.5 in October – up 1.6 percent from September’s level of 100.9.

A majority of restaurant operators expect their sales to rise in the months ahead: 52 percent expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 40 percent who reported similarly last month. Meanwhile, only 6 percent expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, down from 8 percent last month.

Operators are also somewhat more optimistic about the direction of the economy.  Thirty-five percent said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, up from 20 percent last month and the highest level in more than two years.  Only 8 percent expect economic conditions to worse in six months, while the remaining 57 percent expect economic conditions in six months to be about the same as they are now.

For the 14th consecutive month, a majority of restaurant operators said they are planning for capital expenditures in the months ahead: 59 percent plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 53 percent who reported similarly last month.

Source:, 12-1-14

Restaurant Tech Use Rockets

admin | December 5th, 2014 - 1:16 pm

Technology has zoomed to the very top of the restaurant industry menu. That according to a new restaurant innovation report from the National Restaurant Association, the industry trade group. More than one-third of consumers say they are more likely to use technology-related options in restaurants now than they did just two years ago, the report says. […]

Italian Pork

admin | December 4th, 2014 - 12:36 pm

[your-recipe-will-show-here “Italian Pork” 29]

Americans are eating pizza, and a lot of it!

admin | December 3rd, 2014 - 1:15 pm

What are consumers consuming? Pizza— and a lot of it. Every week, two out of three Americans eat pizza. In fact, the average consumer purchases pizza away-from-home (at a restaurant, fast food outlet, cafeteria, etc.) five times a month — more than once a week.

What types of pizza are consumers eating, where are they eating it, and what are the barriers that keep them from choosing pizza? Also here’s a comprehensive look at growing pizza trends, from toppings to crusts to rapidly-growing flatbreads.

Americans love meat.

Consumers can’t get enough pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni pizza was the highest rated of the varieties we tested, loved by 47% of consumers. And they are voting with their wallets — among consumers who had eaten a pizza within the past two weeks, 40% chose a pepperoni pizza, with sausage a distant second, chosen by 16% of consumers. But overall meat pizzas are the overwhelming choice for most consumers — meat lovers, supreme and sausage were all top choices, both in pure likability and recent purchases.

Which meat varieties may become the topping favorites of the future? Some of the fastest-growing topping options over the past year are cotto ham, up 61% over last year, pepper bacon and pancetta. Quick-service restaurants are taking inspiration from other trends and dishes, adding pulled proteins like pork or chicken or Philly steak to pizzas, while independents are incorporating unique flavor profiles like confited proteins, reflecting the importance of “premium” toppings in differentiating pizzas.

Thinking outside the pizza box

Crusts are also getting an update, with everything from skinny versions to pretzel crusts providing an on-trend base. In fact, 46% of consumers said that a truly great pizza starts with having a truly great crust. The most popular MegaTrend we tested was also crust-related — 30% of consumers were interested in wood-fired or coal-fired pizzas, speaking to the growing popularity of authentic, Neapolitan-style pizza.

Trendy flatbreads are also shaking up the pizza category, moving the dish into new menu parts and utilizing more unusual ingredients. In just the past few months, major chains have released seasonal flatbread limited-time-offerings like a turkey cranberry flatbread, innovative appetizers like a Fig & Pig Flatbread, and even desserts, like a Sangria Flatbread, topping a brioche flatbread with berry sangria preserves, mascarpone cheese, candied pecans and creamy wine custard sauce.

Flatbreads have markedly different ingredient and flavor profiles. According to the report, premium toppings like beef tenderloin, havarti cheese and tomato aioli are 10 times more common on flatbread pizzas. Generally, high-end proteins, like ahi tuna, filet mignon and duck confit, are far more likely to show up on flatbreads, as are globally-inspired sauces like chimichurri and harissa.

Success at Retail

Regardless of the day part, whether it’s a breakfast pizza or late night snack, most consumers are purchasing ready-to-eat pizzas at restaurants and other away-from-home locations. According to the report, pizza manufacturers still have some barriers to overcome to entice consumers to purchase more retail pizza options, whether they are frozen, take-and-bake, or made-from-scratch/speed-scratch varieties or options. Again, crust was top-of-the-mind for many consumers, who expressed frustration with tough or chewy crusts and microwaved pizzas lacking in crispness. But consumers also said generous toppings, more interesting varieties and coupons/deals would drive more retail purchases.

A changing market

For the pizza market, there are almost certainly more changes ahead, particularly as new, innovative toppings and flavors continue to grow and a wider variety of operators menu flatbreads.

Source:, 12-1-2014

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