According to a survey conducted by The National Restaurant Association, menu trends that will be heating up in 2018 include doughnuts with non-traditional filling, ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes, farm/estate-branded items, and heritage-breed meats. Trends that are cooling down include artisan cheeses, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and house-made charcuterie.
Market research firm Packaged Facts also recently released a culinary report naming 2018 trends. In New Spins on Standards 2017: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, Packaged Facts identifies more than a dozen foods, beverages, and ingredients that will trend in 2018 and beyond.
In addition to these foodservice trends, here are three specific foodservice products that incorporate a combination of burgeoning trends in the snacks and appetizers space.
HEALTHIER WHOLE GRAIN
Tyson Food Service, Springdale, Ark., expanded its Bosco Sticks line with a new whole grain offering designed to please kids’ taste buds—and please school foodservice directors.
“As the first Bosco Stick whole grain option to feature 100% low moisture, part skim (LMPS) cheese, the new Bosco Cheese Breadstick offers a healthier alternative to a classic student favorite,” notes Tyson. “The freshly baked, premium artisan bread and made-from-scratch quality provide a tasty, flavorful eating experience to increase student participation.”
More specifically, officials say the product delivers “big time buttery, cheesy flavor with the goodness of whole grains and low-moisture, part skim cheese for a sustained flavor burst.”
The frozen stuffed bread sticks are available in bulk packaging with serving sleeves that make them easy to prep and serve. Operators may serve them as a center-of-the-plate entrée, à la carte option or after-school grab-and-go snack—all with convenience and no mess.
Last spring 2017 also saw Tyson dramatically propel the Bosco line with as many as five new breakfast and snacking flavors. Respectively, those breakfast and snack offerings included Cheese & Egg with Maple Cheddar Topping; Cheese & Turkey Ham; Cheese, Egg & Turkey Bacon; Spicy Pepper Jack; and Ham & Cheese.
BETTER WITH BACON, SPICE
Last summer brought four new Anchor appetizers with bold flavors from McCain Foods USA Foodservice, Lisle, Ill.
Anchor Poppers are the company’s popular brand of stuffed jalapeno peppers. Two of the four new offerings are new Poppers that combine different cheeses with smoky, savory bacon. These new items are Cream Cheese & Bacon and Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Poppers.
McCain also developed Anchor Honey Sriracha Cheese Sticks, which it describes as a “savory-spicy-sweet innovation that will change the way guests view the mozzarella stick.” Adds McCain, “Drawing inspiration from classic mozzarella sticks, the new cheese sticks take the cheesy goodness customers love and combine it with honey-Sriracha breading to create a new savory menu item that is simultaneously sweet and spicy. With premium crispy coating, the cheese sticks’ back-of-house look make them an appealing option in applications across the menu.”
With spicy foods and fried pickles both growing in popularity on menus, McCain also launched Anchor Spicy Pickle Fries. Officials say the tangy thin-cut dill pickle fries are lightly coated in a premium cornmeal and spicy mustard batter for a signature back-of-house look. With versatile appeal across the menu, the new fries offer heat-seeking guests a unique flavor experience to be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer or side upgrade.
National Food Group, Novi, Mich., introduced Zee Zees brand sunflower kernels for school foodservice. Two low-sodium flavors are available: Original and Honey Roasted.
Sunflower kernels are a portable power protein that is good for a snack or as part of a meal. The Zee Zees individually retail wrapped sunflower kernels have a meal contribution of 1M/MA (one meat or meat alternate) according to USDA school nutritional guidelines. These kernels are processed in a nut-free facility, are naturally vegan, and kosher. Customers can store them dry for more than six months.
“For years, the honey roasted sunflower kernels have been a very popular item with our school customers,” explains Tara Sharpe, K-12 Team Leader. “Now that they have their own Zee Zee and the packaging has been improved to increase shelf life, we feel that this product will be even more desirable.”
Founded in 1990, National Food Group supplies and distributes to education, institutions, entertainment venues, healthcare facilities, and corporate cafes. In 2016, the company launched its Zee Zees brand of fruit cups, soft-baked bars, and snacks for foodservice as well as consumer purchase online at Amazon and zeezees.com.