According to Technomic’s 2018 Healthy Eating report, 40% of consumers say their definition of health have changed over the past two years. When asked what types of healthier dishes they’re ordering more often than they used to, consumers reported ordering salads, chicken dishes, vegetables, less-sugar items, protein-packed options and more. Going hand-in-hand with consumers’ preferences for healthier foods, they’re also looking to eat foods that are good for the environment—foods that are sustainably sourced, grown locally or are natural and organic, for instance.
For operators, catering to these new preferences isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Check out these four dishes that can be added to the menu that are not only better-for-you but are also better for the environment.
1. Blended burgers
Comfort foods are still king for many diners and getting them on board for healthier options may take a little extra work. For these diners, offering a blended burger can be the way to go. By blending beef or turkey with mushrooms, diners can enjoy a hearty flavor while enjoying a lighter option. Topped with an array of delicious trimmings such as frizzled onions, crinkle-cut pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, this burger offers diners a better-for-you option that tastes like the real deal. On top of that, cutting down on the amount of beef used and consumed is better for the environment to boot. Because veggies require far less resources to grow and process than cattle does, opting for a burger that’s blended with vegetables like mushrooms or beans means it’s a little better for the planet.
2. Spaghetti and meatballs—with a twist
Another entry in the comfort food category is spaghetti and meatballs. However, similarly to the blended burger idea, these meatballs can be made out of mushrooms and beef or even a mixture of lentils and mushrooms for a totally plant-based option. With this dish, consider swapping in spiraled zucchini noodles for some or all of the wheat noodles. According to Technomic’s Healthy Eating report, 34% of consumers, including 41% of diners ages 18- to 34-years old, say they’d be likely to order dishes made with vegetables instead of carb-rich items (such as cauliflower pizza crust or zucchini noodles).
3. Customizable grain bowls
Grain bowls featuring rice, quinoa, farro or other grains are a hit with the better-for-you diner. With a hearty base and endless opportunity for customization, these bowls are perfect for those who have restricted diets or specific preferences (such as no onions, for instance). With the option to add proteins such as sustainable seafood and vegetables such as umami-rich clean label mushrooms, plus an array of other toppings and sauces, grain bowls are ideal for noncommercial settings, because diners can pick and choose what they want or don’t want. According to Technomic’s Healthy Eating report, 53% of consumers say that if available, they’d order items with ancient grains, which makes this menu addition a win-win for operators and diners alike.
Soups, prepared with local or organic produce, natural ingredients such as real milk and whole grain pasta, as well as low-sodium broths, can be a goldmine for operators. Often packed with a full serving of vegetables, soups offer diners a filling and nutritious meal choice. For the 84% of consumers who say they think menu items containing a full serving of vegetables are slightly or much healthier, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating report, that’s an easy choice to make. Because there are so many varieties, operators can change up the menu from week to week to ensure everyone can find something they enjoy. For instance, mushroom barley soup packs a whole-grain punch, and tomato and basil bisque offers bright flavor without a lot of calories.
Sautéed-Roasted Mushrooms: Plant-Forward Flavor
Phillips Gourmet’s Sautéed and Sautéed-Roasted Mushrooms are Umami-rich, clean-labeled, and ready to add savory, fresh-off-the-grill flavor to any application. Our seasoned Portabella, Button, or custom blends not only provide a flavorful, consistent, and convenient way to extend proteins and enhance greens and grains, they are also one of the most sustainable foods on the plant. In fact, a single, 4-oz. blended burger (60% beef, 40% mushrooms) saves approx. 200-gallons of water per patty versus the same-sized, all-beef patty. Our recipe-ready, Umami-packed Sautéed and Sautéed-Roasted mushrooms are also savory additions to sandwiches, soups, sides or any application. In addition to boosting flavor, they reduce the fat, sodium, cholesterol, and calories. No wonder they are called a superfood!
As one of the largest mushroom growers in the US, Phillips Gourmet is a 3rd generation, family-owned business. Our state-of-the-art growing operations and SQF-certified processing facilities give you the highest quality, consistent, ready-to-use mushrooms available on the market today. And, as a vertically integrated grower and processor, you’re buying direct from the farm!
Phillips sautéed and roasted mushrooms are recipe-ready and require no additional prep. Just heat and serve! For additional information see us at www.phillipsgourmet.com or call 610-925-0520.