Prepared Foods talks culinary menu and dessert trends with Stacie Sopinka, senior vice president, innovation and quality, US Foods, a leading foodservice distributor based in Rosemont, Ill.

Prepared Foods: In US Foods’ “Fall Scoop” product release, you mention creating new products for the “Food Runway” and “introducing the right trends at the right time.” More specifically, there’s a reference to trends such as authentic global flavors, vibrant colors, a celebration of vegetables, New World butchery and fine-dining 2.0. Are there desserts included in your Fall Scoop line and, if so, how do they address those trends?

STACIE SOPINKA: The saying “we eat with our eyes” has never been truer in the digital age. In fact, as of August 2018, approximately 290 million posts are tagged #food on Instagram. Fall Scoop offers many bright, vibrant, colorful offerings that deliver both a visual and sensory thrill. Among our latest fall offerings is a Devonshire Premium Black Raspberry Ombre Cake with Vanilla Icing (pictured), which  addresses our “vibrant colors” trend. It features four layers of progressively darker-hued black raspberry cake framed by sweet vanilla icing and gem-like sugar beads. It’s eye-catching, serves on-trend flavor and is stunningly sculpted—you can’t help but snap a picture of it. 

PF: US Foods also had a big new products push back in the spring. Can you tell us more about what you were emphasizing? 

Sopinka: Earlier this year, we highlighted 26 new products from the company’s award-
winning Serve Good program. Diners today care more than ever about the stories behind how their food is grown and raised. In fact, 67% of consumers state that they would have a better impression of a restaurant that offered sustainable foods and at least 80% of diners say they want to know more about their food source. 

Sustainable menu options are more than a trend, they’re a movement that’s here to stay. With Serve Good, we are committed to delivering a responsible approach to foodservice while equipping independent restaurants with high quality products diners will pay a premium for. Responsibility comes in many forms beyond the center-of-the-plate—including beverages, disposables and desserts. 

PF: What’s an example related to desserts?

Sopinka: We created a Devonshire Premium Banana Chocolate Swirl Cake Made with Rainforest Alliance Certified Bananas and Fair Trade Certified Chocolate.

Inspired by a Minnesota State Fair award-winning recipe, this cake is made with Fair Trade Certified semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder from Callebaut, Fair Trade Certified granulated and powdered sugar and Rainforest Alliance Certified banana purée.

Originally appeared in the November, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as First Person.