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Stir it up magazine March 2015

CATEGORY FOCUS For caterers on a tight budget, cake and scone mixes, such as those offered by Country Range and Craigmillar, are extremely costeffective and versatile. Helen Sinclair, marketing manager at CSM adds: “From a budget perspective it’s also worthwhile to offer teatime treats using a sweet mix that can be served as a cupcake, muffin, sheet cake or loaf cake so buying just one sweet mix product will give the opportunity to ensure that you are able to offer a variety of products.” Operators should also cater for coeliacs and gluten intolerant diners too, says Simon Law, from the Handmade Cake Company. “This continues to be the most important trend, exciting both our catering customers and of course consumers. The quality of gluten-free bakery continues to improve – now being almost interchangeable with cakes that are made with gluten.” Full of beans Coffee has been the catering success story of the decade and we now drink more than nine billion cups of coffee away from home in the UK each year. Testament to its growing popularity, the tea:coffee ratio in the OOH market now stands at 1:1. Allegra states that latté and cappuccino are now the most popular coffees bought out of home, giving a clear indication of how our tastes as consumers have greatly shifted in the past years. Quality is key, says Lynn Little, Nescafé ingredients lead at Nestlé Professional. “Somewhere in the region of 99 million ‘lost’ coffee sales in the out-of-home market can be attributed to poor quality, as people are happier to go without than to settle on a product that’s less than perfect,” she says. “As consumers have come to expect barista-style coffee wherever they go, there’s a clear opportunity to deliver a product that guarantees speed, consistency and quality.” 'Telemetry, my dear Watson' Telemetry is one of the most exciting innovations driving the coffee industry at the moment and is set to deliver real benefits to caterers looking to boost sales from coffee at any time of day. Matt Lane, head of beverage solutions at Nestle Professional, explains: “Its initial appeal lies in the wealth of data it can instantly feed back – everything from maintenance and systems management to daily throughput. This includes the ability to track sales, analyse the results and set up promotions accordingly. For example, the data can allow you to monitor which drinks are selling during the afternoon tea period so you can see which drinks are less popular and tailor an activity accordingly to increase sales and profits from that drink.” Be creative Capitalise on major seasonal events to create a range of luxurious hot drinks. A good thick creamy top to a hot drink can hold up sprinkles, chocolate pieces and small fudge cubes to give impact on serving. It doesn’t take too much decoration to make an impact – around 3-5g – so a small increase in ingredients cost can help command an enhanced RSP. Certain flavours signal a season or event straight away: cinnamon crunch for winter and Christmas, or strawberries and cream mini crunch for summer. Syrups signal sweet profits Flavoured syrups add interest and variety to your hot beverages menu – and help independent caterers to grow margins by enabling them to create signature hot beverages and replicate the high street coffee house experience that consumers love. James Coston, Monin’s UK brand ambassador, says: “Using flavoured syrups, it is easy to develop a stylish selection that’s simple to prepare and does not take up too much staff time. It is important to promote the drink as a whole rather than as a standard product with add-on; a named, specifically-designed drink carries more value in the perception of the customer. “Caterers trying flavoured syrups for the first time might prefer to choose classic flavours such as Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Gingerbread and Chocolate Cookie syrups. However, there are scores more to choose from if you’re feeling adventurous – Monin Salted Caramel, Praline and Amaretto syrups are all as popular as they are versatile.” Keep it clean Many outlets could reduce running costs and generate bigger profits simply by cleaning their coffee machines more often, says the team at Diversey Care, whose Suma Café range has been developed specifically for that purpose. Essential oils that help give coffee its distinctive flavour are released during roasting and the brewing process. Left alone they form residues inside the machine which impart bitterness to the drink. In most commercial situations a machine should be cleaned at least daily. Oh Crumbs A little sweet treat with your hot beverage really takes the biscuit. Says Frances Booth, category marketing manager at Lotus Bakeries: “A complimentary sweet biscuit will not only add value to a customer’s visit, but also give them the impression that they are getting even more for their money.” Biscuits are an important part of the foodservice menu in a wide variety of outlets. Says Kelly Newell, business development manager
foodservice, United Biscuits: “Biscuits are a treat that appeals to all age groups. Children love biscuits, people at work and the elderly greatly enjoy a biscuit too. “Biscuits are one of the highlights for elderly people living in care homes, bringing back memories of home, family and their younger days. The reassurance of a biscuit with a cup of tea in the afternoon is as essential as the main meal of the day. More than a treat, a biscuit provides nourishment, encourages the elderly to have a cup of tea and keep properly hydrated.” “...renewed interest in afternoon tea has been at the heart of this trend. “ MARCH 2015 11


Stir it up magazine March 2015
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