As summer transitions into fall, leaves change colors and people reach for layers for the much-cooler breezes. But that’s not all that’s shifting—consumers’ palates are changing, too. According to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report, 32% of consumers say that their preferences tend to change depending on the season. In autumn, produce such as apples, pumpkins and squash reach their season, and folks pine for warm, cozy comfort food that has some spice to it.
Over half of consumers report that the term “seasonal” enhances the flavor of their meals, so here are five ways to incorporate fall flavors into your foodservice menus to stay current with the changing seasons.
1. Let them eat cake
When making tasty treats with bananas, the fruit should be perfectly ripe with just the right amount of natural sweetness. Avoid wasting bananas that get too soft—or stay green too long—by thawing and mashing Chef-Ready Cuts Sliced Bananas to make this delicious Banana Nut Bundt Cake.
The super-moist cake combines the comforting taste of bananas with ground cashews, ginger and buttermilk for a spiced fall flavor. Once cooked, it’s brushed with warm apricot jam and then topped with buttermilk frosting and a sprinkling of more cashews.
2. Sweet surprise
Technomic’s Flavor report finds that 65% of consumers say they like trying new flavors from time to time. One way to keep diners’ interests up is by adding sweet berries to savory meat recipes. For fall, try adding fruit with some spice to complement pork, lamb, chicken, beef, seafood and duck.
For example, if serving lamb or pork chops, experiment by blending blackberry puree, chipotle peppers and balsamic vinegar to make a tangy, spicy sauce that will deliver an unexpected taste counterpoint to the main dish.
3. Give a nod to Thanksgiving
As fresh summer fruit and the grilling season fade away till next year, consumers gear up for the final cumulation of fall—Thanksgiving—with its comforting tastes of a turkey dinner and all the traditional sides.
Use the menu to pay tribute to the holiday with casual turkey sandwiches with innovative combinations. For a standout version, start by making cranberry vodka mayonnaise, then spread it on a hearty bread before adding sliced turkey breast, brie and apple slices. Broil the open-face sandwiches on a large baking sheet, and the result is a tasty handheld mini-version of the end-of-November feast.
4. Seasonal twist
No matter the season, cupcakes are a sure win. Yet 73% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new flavors, according to the Flavor report, and the same is true in the non-commercial space.
This fall, try giving the cupcake and dessert options a seasonal twist by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, diced apples and grated lemon peel to yellow cake mix. Top with cream cheese frosting spiked with lemon juice, and a delicious dessert that’s on trend with the season is ready to go.
5. Morning fall fare
Of all the breakfast options, pancakes offer a simple way to add some fall flavors to the menu. It’s impossible to think of fall without pumpkin and banana bread, so evoke those fall favorites at breakfast by making simple banana pancakes.
To create these classic and on-season flapjacks, use a blender to puree thawed bananas and then combine bananas, milk, eggs and margarine in medium bowl. In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and then combine with the wet ingredients.