'Take advantage of low inflation to trial new menu options,' expert advises

24 June 2015

Food providers and suppliers should take advantage of low food inflation and increasing customer appetite for new dishes to trial different menu ideas, according to Lynx Purchasing.

In the Summer 2015 of its Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast, the hospitality buying specialist said the combination of quality home-grown produce and low food inflation means the time is right for operators to trial new dishes and menu ideas.

Managing director John Pinder said: “Inflation is at a historically low level, and as we move from spring into summer the availability of UK meat, seafood and fresh fruit and veg is generally very good, quality is high, and value for money is excellent.

“At the same time, there’s a strong consumer appetite for new flavours and innovative dishes. We are continuing to see new smokehouse and barbecue concepts rolling out, and this trend coincides with an upsurge in slow-cooked dishes and underused meat cuts such as brisket and pork shoulder appearing on menus.”

Lynx Purchasing suggested food providers work with suppliers to identify good value cuts of beef and pork suitable for barbecue, smokehouse and slow-cooked dishes.

It advised reducing reliance on the most popular fish species, such as cod and haddock, by offering ‘catch of the day’ seafood specials, using fish from British waters with hake, pollock, mackerel, gurnard, grey mullet, bream, South Coast sea bass, dabs, lemon sole, brill and plaice all expected to be in good supply.

Offering ‘seasonal British vegetables’ as a menu accompaniment, varied according to availability, quality and price is also recommended, along with salad options for customers looking for healthier options.

“It’s not often these factors come along together, and so it’s a real opportunity for restaurants, pubs and hotels to refresh their menus,” said Pinder. “We’re not suggesting that operators drop their best sellers, but they should be speaking to suppliers about which produce is best value, and using specials boards and dish-of-the-day promotions to try new ideas.”

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