Prepared Foods showcases new snacks and appetizer products debuting in March 2019.
Sonic Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., says it took inspiration from annual state fair treats to develop two co-branded hot and cold sweet snack and dessert combinations: an OREO A La Mode and Cinnabon Cinnasnacks A La Mode.
Developed under license with Mondelēz International group, The OREO A La Mode features battered and fried OREOs as a crunchy and dippable treat—combined with Sonic’s ice cream. The Cinnabon Cinnasnacks A La Mode—featuring Focus Brand’s trademarked Cinnabon ingredient—features warm, flakey pastries with cinnamon roll filling and served with Sonic’s ice cream.
“Balancing the richness of your favorite warm dessert with the refreshing creaminess of ice cream has become common practice for a reason,” says Scott Uehlein, vice president of product innovation and development for Sonic. “With the new OREO and Cinnasnacks A La Mode, we took what many traditionally do with a pie or brownie fresh from the oven to create an entirely new experience.”
Available for a limited time, both the OREO A La Mode and the Cinnabon Cinnasnacks A La Mode can be enjoyed at a local SONIC Drive-In for just $2.99.
Inspire Brands Inc., Atlanta, completed its $2.3 billion purchase of Sonic Corp. last December. Sonic, America’s Drive-In is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain and daily serves approximately 3 million customers. Ninety-five percent of SONIC’s more than 3,600 drive-ins are owned by local franchisees.
IPA BEER BATTER
According to Nielsen Craft Beer Insights (2017), 71% of consumers look for complementary foods when choosing a craft beer at restaurants and bars. With crunchy texture and bold, on-trend flavors, craft beer-battered appetizers and snacks enhance the flavor of craft beer. That’s what has led McCain Foods USA, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., to develop a range of craft beer battered appetizers—from potatoes to cheese to onions and other vegetables—all under the McCain Brew City brand.
The company’s latest offerings are Brew City IPA Beer Battered Onion Rings and new Brew City IPA Beer Battered Gouda & Mozzarella Cheese Bites (pictured). Crafted with IPA batters, these crispy onion rings and golden cheese bites harness the growing popularity of this hoppy craft in the form of all-time menu favorites.
“By leveraging one of the largest portfolios of craft beer-battered products, operators can create pairings guests can’t resist,” says Chef Brooke Brantley, McCain Foods’ director of culinary for North America. “McCain’s Brew City beer-battered offerings complement today’s craft beers with ideal flavors that increase profits and create better guest experiences.”
Brantley says McCain’s new IPA batter “is specially designed to deliver a medium bodied, hoppy IPA flavor that pairs perfectly with sweet onions or creamy smoked gouda and mozzarella cheese.”
Last fall saw leading distributor US Foods Holding Corp., Rosemont, Ill., include appetizers among a broad range of new products for restaurant customers. Among new offerings were new Petite Pearls breaded pearl onions and Flamin’ Battered Onion Rings—both under the Molly’s Kitchen brand.
US Foods says Petite Pearls (shown) have a sea salt-and-pepper breading that complements the sweet onion within it. Served alone or on an appetizer tray, the mild, sweet onions complement a wide array of dipping sauces. Petite Pearls also can serve as toppers to burgers, soups and salads.
US Foods says its other offering represents the first “flamin’ battered onion ring on the market, so get ready for your crowd to go wild. Whether the rings are piled high or crowning a burger, the crisp, spicy exterior reveals a delectably tender-sweet interior. They’re ready for your favorite dipping sauces, and they pair with beer like they were made for each other. They’re easy on the kitchen, too: when the repeat orders come in, you’ll only need three minutes to fry the next batch.”
Interestingly, Flamin’ Battered Onion Rings get their vibrant red color from cayenne and beet powder—rather than artificial colors, the company says.
US Foods’ broader appetizer line includes potato and sweet potato items (fries, chips, etc.), breaded and battered vegetables and cheeses, and prepared specialties.