Focus on: Salad Toppers

In the early days of salad bars, croutons ruled as the “extra” of choice to top a bowl of lettuce and veggies. Since then, salad topping options have expanded exponentially—as have the types of croutons available. Sugar Foods, the self-proclaimed “largest crouton manufacturer on the planet” under its Fresh Gourmet label, offers bite-size croutons in a wide variety of breads (white, multigrain, challah, focaccia and more), cut sizes and styles (homestyle, French, country cut, etc.) and seasonings. Marzetti, another foodservice crouton company, has flavors including Garlic & Butter, Cheese & Garlic and Caesar.

“Croutons were once available only as tiny cubes, plain or seasoned,” says Andrea Brule, general manager of innovative ingredients for Sugar Foods. “But with the growth of entrée salads, the texture component became very important. Now when consumers dine out, they want to find a lot of ‘stuff’ in their salads. And chefs are using salads as a canvas for creativity.”

With a diverse array of crunchy salad toppings available in shelf-stable packages, it’s convenient for operators to add texture, visual appeal and differentiation
to a salad right out of the box. The Fresh Gourmet brand, for example, includes crispy jalapeños, crispy onions, crispy red peppers, wonton strips and tortilla strips. “There’s a trend toward ethnic twists in salads, so we have tortilla, jalapeño and wonton strips to meet that demand,” notes Brule. “There’s also a trend toward incorporating more vegetables. We put onions and peppers through a special process to make them crispy. They are flour dusted, gently fried and oven toasted.” Sugar Foods is also developing hybrid products, such as tortilla chips infused with 40 percent fresh red bell pepper. And crispy nopales—the cactus leaves popular in Mexican cuisine—are available in Mexico.

Although crispy toppers were designed to add texture to salads, they are easily cross-utilized into other menu items. Breakfast egg dishes, burgers, sandwiches, nachos and burritos can be enhanced by the products. They can also be crushed and added to batters and doughs.

Fresh Gourmet offers two size packages of crispy toppings for foodservice: 1-pound bags designed to allow the average operator to get through one package per shift, and ½-ounce portion packets for takeout. The brand’s croutons come in 2-pound bags, while Marzetti offers 20-ounce and 40-ounce bags in their bulk line.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
snacking mobile phones coffee

From Keurig Green Mountain.

University students are on a quest to discover their own tastes and preferences, and that includes beverages — especially specialty coffees.

Study sessions are usually fueled with coffee, and plenty of it. Hard-working students look to break monotony with variety, and they also want to treat themselves. Limited time offerings of flavored coffees coupled with seasonal variations are one way to satisfy these cravings. Here are four ways to do so.

Seasons change

The most natural time to change up beverage menus is when seasons turn — 32% of...

Ideas and Innovation

A house of straw is rising on the grounds of University of Michigan’s campus farm this summer, constructed by students enrolled in a green building class. The sustainable structure features 18-inch-thick straw bales covered in adobe and is topped with a metal roof sporting solar panels. It will be the first building on the Ann Arbor campus to be off the electrical grid—and the first university structure built by students, reports Michigan News .

Once the straw house is completed, Michigan Dining plans to host farm-to-table dinners there. It will also serve as headquarters for the...

Industry News & Opinion

Texas’ Farm Fresh initiative has this year expanded to include summer meal programs , My High Plains reports.

The program, which strives to incorporate more local ingredients into school meals, is led by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Last week, producers and foodservice operators from schools around the state met at a nutrition conference to learn more about how to increase their use of local food. Around 40% of schools in the state are currently part of the initiative.

Read the full story via myhighplains.com .

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has appointed Cathy Desquesses as its chief people officer, the company announced on Friday.

Before joining Sodexo, Desquesses held multiple leadership roles in the human resources department at General Electric, where she worked for 20 years. Most recently, she was the global HR leader for GE Power Gas.

Desquesses will begin her new role on July 1 and will report to Sodexo CEO Denis Machuel. She will replace Juan Pablo Urruticoechea, who is moving into a new position at Sodexo.

Photo courtesy of Sodexo

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code