Roasted fruit hits consumer sweet spots

Photograph courtesy of Simplot

Fruit ingredients are thriving as consumers seek out ways to reduce their consumption of added sugars without sacrificing taste. Roasted fruit, with natural sugars that are caramelized during the cooking process, packs a distinctive flavor punch that can enliven dishes across dayparts, from pancakes to sandwiches to savory entrees.

Incorporating roasted fruit is a quick, easy way for foodservice operators to deliver delicious boosts of flavor intensity that help menu items stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s the foundation of the dish or a golden-brown complement to the star ingredients, roasted fruit adds texture and a healthy wow factor to both sweet and savory items. 

A wealth of choices

Almost all fruits take well to roasting, so foodservice operators can mix and match traditional favorites, such as apples, with a wide variety of flavors. Roasted berries, grapes, figs and pineapple are already making inroads on menus, along with roasted stone fruits and roasted orange and grapefruit slices.

Foodservice operators also can rotate roasted fruit selections throughout the year to introduce seasonal flavors with a twist, even combining fresh and roasted versions of the same fruit for tasty new options in salads and desserts. Or, let roasted fruit stand on its own as a topping for burgers or breakfast dishes such as oatmeal, pancakes or yogurt. However it’s used, roasted fruit can add value to any menu item.

Savory selections

Sliced fuji apples, a perennial salad ingredient, generate new interest when roasted before being added to a medley of greens and other fresh veggies. Other roasted fruits like peaches and pineapples are poised for growth, too – with springtime coming up, chefs are ready to innovate in the kitchen.

Roasted fruit raises the bar for the fruity toppings and sauces that consumers continue to crave in meat and fish dishes. Add a pop of sweet-and-salty flavor to the menu with entrees such as pork tenderloin and roasted fuji apples or grilled shrimp with roasted pineapple.

Creative combos

Foodservice operators are thinking outside the box by mixing roasted fruits with roasted vegetables for colorful, sophisticated side dishes and salads. Roasted sweet potatoes, squash and pineapple complement each other well, for example, as do roasted beets and orange slices, and roasted carrots, pears and figs.

Fruits that aren’t traditionally served roasted also elevate menu items and offer new and unexpected taste sensations for guests. Roasting fruits like apples and peaches brings out more of their natural sweetness and makes them perfect for being made into dessert sauces, mashed into sweet or savory cheese spreads and used as toppers for oatmeal and ice cream.

Roasted fruit is ripe with opportunity for foodservice operators looking to add craveable flavors to almost any menu category. The intensity of roasted fruit flavors elevates both sweet and savory dishes with little extra effort from foodservice operators, resulting in versatile menu options that are on-trend with today’s consumer tastes.

This post is sponsored by Simplot