Plant-based / gluten free requirement ?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by Keke1811, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Keke1811

    Keke1811

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    Marketing exec
    Hi all!

    Im currently running a survey mainly targeting chefs.

    After further research, it seems that the trend in the UK is around Plant- based and Gut health.

    I would like to understand:
    - what frustration or gap you’re facing?
    - what ingredient are more searched for?

    your feedback will be really appreciate!

    Many thanks
    Keke
     
  2. drewjsph02

    drewjsph02

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    Executive Chef
    Midwest United States here. I work in a city where it's trendy to have food 'allergies' and 'intolerances'. I don't say that for the purpose of saying that some of our clientele do not have legitimate health concerns.

    That being said, we change our menu four times a year and on each menu we feature a gluten free-vegan entrée and a pasta dish that can be easily made vegan and gluten free.
    I'd say the most frustrating issue when it comes to gluten free items is texture. One common complaint is that the gluten free pasta is slimy (rice based noodles) or gritty (corn/quinoa based noodles) and that the sauce doesn't really adhere to the pasta as well as an actual noodle.
    Veg based items aren't really a hurdle for us though. We actually get great feedback from our customers on our vegan dishes. However I do find that many people that are looking for Vegan are also looking for it to be free on most allergens (nuts, gluten...) which then gets more challenging.
     
  3. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    I work in a hospital that has a senior life center that we own and cater to as well. I am no stranger to specialty products, diets, and nutritional requirements. GF pasta has always been an issue here as well, for many of the reasons you stated above. Aside from being slimy or gritty as you described, the texture is never quite right as well. I had/have been using banza, which is a blend of several different things including chickpeas. For the longest time that was the best product available to me. Tuesday I went to a Sysco food show and found what I believe to be the best gluten free pasta I have ever tried, and the only one I would ever choose to eat myself. I don't have price points on it yet, but had I not known it was gluten free prior to eating it I never would have suspected a thing. It is from a Wisconsin based company called RP's Pasta, based somewhere near Madison. I believe they said it comes bulk packed in 10lb cases, as well as 12 8 oz packages. It is precooked, and frozen, so you can simply reheat in the sauce, eliminating the need for a second pot of water to reheat it. I am not sure if this would be available to you through any of your distributors, but it is certainly worth looking into.
     
  4. Mischief

    Mischief

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    I've recently started using the Impossible Burger, a vegan beef substitute and found a few ways to creatively use them as opposed to only burgers. We sell it as a substitute on pork belly wraps and even made a gravy from the juices and made a twist on a loco moco. I've always stayed away from the GF pastas and cheeses because they never seem appealing.
     
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  5. drewjsph02

    drewjsph02

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    Yes! I have tried their past as well at a food show! It is absolutely amazing! Unfortunately we don’t use Sysco and the Vendor who was going to carry it decided not to bring them on. I was heart broken because, as you said, I couldn’t tell the difference between gluten pasta and their gluten free. Maybe I’ll pester my rep to see if they’ve reconsidered!
     
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  6. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    I don't use Sysco either. They invited me to the show trying to get some of my business. I use Reinhart, and they are also able to get products from RPs. I don't know what broadliner you use, but I would think some type of special order ought to be possible. I guess it depends on your volume. We are one of Reinhart's largest accounts in this area, so I have a lot of leverage when it comes to getting things I want.
     
  7. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    The impossible burger is an awesome product! Unfortunately for us, it is priced too high to sell in our cafeteria. There are definitely a lot of uses for the bulk pack product.
     
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  8. Mischief

    Mischief

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    We upcharge $2 per patty over a 7 oz fresh Angus patty. Not making the greatest margin but I have a hard time justifying anything more for 4 oz. Of plant based food over 7 oz. Of quality meat. The margins are better on the lettuce wraps.
     
  9. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    Unfortunately that is not really an option here. almost all of our entrees can be had for $1.50 - $3.50. We have a higher mark up on things that aren't healthy vs those that are. Even though the impossible burger is plant based, it still has too much saturated fat for us to consider it healthy. A 4 oz portion would run us close to $3.00 before even factoring in the bun and accompaniments. I would have to charge $5 - 6 for them, and no one here would pay that, especially when they can get my crab and shrimp pupusas tomorrow for only $3.