Jo Holborn, McCain Foods Marketing and Category Controller, discusses the importance of frozen, the latest trends, challenges and chip products, and how the newly relaunched McCain range will benefit wholesalers and their customers.
What are the advantages of frozen food?
The McCain range offers a wide variety of frozen solutions for caterers. For those that want to serve high volumes of consistently great tasting, freshly cooked and appetising food it is ideal, it can also help manage budgets as frozen food helps to cut wastage, save time and add more variety to menus.
The quality and cost of fresh potatoes can fluctuate according to seasonal variations making budgets and wastage difficult to control, but by using the very best of the potato crop McCain can provide consistently high quality frozen potato products all year round at a stable cost, without the waste, which helps caterers to manage their operation more effectively.
Using frozen chips and potato products also helps caterers to reduce wastage because they can be cooked to order. This enables caterers to manage unexpected increases in custom with freshly cooked, appetising food, without the need to prep large quantities at the start of the day with the risk of waste if the numbers are down. And most importantly, of course, the better the chips taste the less likely they are to be left on the plate.
What challenges are caterers facing, and how can McCain offer a solution?
There are three clear areas where our customers ask for our support.
• With their customers, expectations need to be met on a consistent basis, and every meal needs to be as good as it can be.
• With menus, they need access to a wide range of quality products that can help offer more variety and make menus stand out.
• And in kitchens, cooks and catering managers are asking for great quality ingredients that help them to work more smartly and efficiently.
To better support our customers, we have relaunched our ranges in line with these challenges, with a clear focus on the customer, the menu, and kitchen solutions.
Because the new ranges are aligned with caterer needs they are easier to shop making it easier than ever for your customers to find the right solutions to meet their needs.
What other trends are influencing your NPD?
The demand for Gluten Free foods is growing, and although only 1% of the population have coeliac disease, around 10% of the population are actively looking to remove or reduce gluten from their diet, so it’s vital that caterers can offer great tasting gluten free menus, particularly favourites, such as chips. It’s also worth remembering that the people seeking gluten free options will rarely be eating alone, so there is an impact on those they eat with too.
To support caterers, we have redeveloped and relaunched McCain Menu Signatures Traditional Chips to make them gluten free, giving them a product that meets their needs and supports due diligence procedures.
What’s even more important, our research among operators confirmed they also perform and taste better, whether fried or cooked in a combi, range or regen oven. They also taste fantastic even when held.
Menu Signatures Sweet Potato Fries and Gourmet Chips are also now gluten free.
What other trends are going to have an impact?
Some of the team have just returned from a research trip to Chicago, and American classics, such as burgers and pulled pork are still dominant, although operators are now offering free-from versions.
The biggest change is in the way people are eating and ordering food.
If people want to eat breakfast at dinner, they can, even at McDonald’s who’ve been offering all day breakfasts with great success in the US having traditionally always offered separate menus. The impressive thing is that they’ve managed to gain new custom without cannibalising sales of traditional day time options, and because McCain products can be ready in a matter of minutes they are ready to help operators to maximise opportunities any time of the day.
If you want food delivered to the home or desk from a fine dining restaurant, that’s possible too – a select few specialist food delivery services are already doing it. A wellknown taxi firm in the US is also successfully branching out into delivering food and has announced the service will be launching in the UK.
It’s a big opportunity for many operators as it enables them to extend their reach, and increase revenue. The big risk is that the quality of the food is compromised during delivery, damaging reputations. Think cold, soggy chips.
Demand for solutions will only increase. We pride ourselves on offering a range of chips that maintain their quality, and can stay hot and crispy for longer.
Tel: 0800 146 573