The issue of clean and clear food labels means different things for those in various parts of the food industry. For Chef Vincent Barcelona, director of culinary and corporate chef at Stratas Foods and THE KITCHEN, the issue was beginning to take shape almost a decade ago.
Before taking his role with Stratas Foods, a leading supplier of oil and shortening, Barcelona was a restaurant chef in the famed Hudson Valley region. He was the decision maker when it came to ingredient suppliers. He saw that his customers were demanding both clean and clear explanations for where their food came from, how it was prepared and what it was prepared with. The industry has since become driven by the farm-to-fork movement.
Today, Barcelona works with Roger Daniel, Stratas Foods’ vice president, Research and Development and Innovation, to determine the difference between industry fads and trends.
“When we see enough movement in the industry, down to the customer sitting in the restaurant chair, we work to determine if the movement is a viable trend or a passing fad,” says Barcelona. “When we have a trend, I work with my clients to determine what their needs are and how Stratas can help meet those demands.”
Developing a new product with new ingredients but maintained functionality is no easy task. There are many things to consider; is the ingredient performing as it should and will it maintain its taste, flavor, texture and appearance with an altered ingredient.
Stratas’s efforts to create clean and clear labels for their products while still maintaining functionality have been praised. Barcelona said that allowing clients to work with products in development, offer feedback and test run the final product is what makes THE KITCHEN and RDI partnership work so well.
“Ultimately, the end user needs to know that Stratas is cautious about what people are asking for,” says Barcelona. “We are creating a dinner experience while trying to meet consumer and customer demand.”
For an inside look at Stratas Foods’ KITCHEN and culinary appeal—along with a video—click here.
For more information about Stratas Foods’ fat and oil ingredient offerings and applications, visit www.stratasfoods.com.