Even operations without French frying equipment can participate in the public’s desire for French fries with the special oven finish frozen cut potatoes. These are pre-cooked French fries that are designed to be baked crisp in an oven, retaining the taste and texture of a deep fried potato. Customers for these fries are schools, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions. Hash brown potatoes and cottage fries have become an entree for many other types of foodservice. Coffee shops and family restaurants, specializing m breakfasts, are excellent customers for these types of potatoes.The big seven of frozen vegetables in foodservice are potatoes, corn, green peas, carrots, green and wax beans, broccoli, and spinach. Other vegetables that are popular with foodservice operators, but that don’t approach the high volume of the seven above are mixed vegetables, lima beans, cauliflower, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and onions. New on the market are mixed frozen vegetables and pasta. Italian pasta shapes are used. This dish is aimed at the healthy food trend, where pasta is valued for its complex carbohydrates and vegetables for their low calorie, high vitamin, and mineral content.
Frozen corn is available in both whole kernel and on the cob. A growing amount of corn on the cob is being sold in the foodservice field as processing methods have improved to produce a product that approaches the quality and texture of the fresh vegetable. Fast-food operations, in particular have been investigating the sales pull of fresh frozen corn on the cob, and a number of equipment manufacturers have developed machines that keep the product both at serving temperature and on display at the same time. In-office and in-plant food operations have also found corn on the cob a big draw at cafeteria lines.
French fries are a major volume item on the menu of almost every fast-food outlet with few exceptions. It’s the great variety of foodservice potato styles that makes the French fry a favorite with operators. By proper selection, each one can have an almost “signature” potato to serve. There are normal, thick, and thin regular straight cuts. There are shoestring and several varieties of crinkle cuts. Ranch or farm cuts, including a number of newer items with skin on, make it possible for French fries to be sold by operators who don’t want to fit into the “me-too” category. There are even bite-size portions that may be served as hors d’oeuvres.
Potato skins have survived their fad status and are still steady movers in most markets. These are thin outer “shells” of potato with the skin intact. They are served stuffed,” with a layer of some type of filling or deep fried to be used as finger food snacks.
Peas and Green Beans
Frozen peas most closely can approach the appearance and taste of the freshly hulled product. For this reason, green peas are the third most popular vegetable in the frozen food line. Peas are also used in mixtures, such as peas and carrots and peas with onions, which operators feature as side dishes.
Green beans are also a mainstay of the vegetable menu. Both cut and whole beans are popular and Italian or wax beans are also available.
A number of vegetables are available as individually quick frozen or frozen together in a block. The major advantage to the loose pack of individually frozen product is that it can be divided into smaller amounts more easily and such packs are quicker to heat than a solid block. Where the entire amount is to be prepared at the same time, particularly in a steamer, the difference between individually quick frozen and solid frozen packs does not matter much to the operator.
The main five fruits that are sold to the foodservice industry are strawberries, cherries, apples, peaches, and blueberries. The biggest volume is in strawberries, both in IQF and sliced types. These are used in everything from cereal to fancy desserts.
Other popular fruits in order of importance are raspberries (both black and red), blackberries, apricots, sweet cherries, grapes, and boysenberries. Frozen mixed fruit has become a high-volume item in foodservice. The standard blend consists of sliced peaches, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and red seedless grapes, available either IQF or in syrup pack. The increase in use of strawberries by foodservice operators can be traced to the IQF packs of berries, which make it easy to use the whole berry on a dessert or as a garnish.
Red sour pitted cherries are primarily used in baking, particularly for pies and tarts. A big item in canned goods, the use of frozen RSP cherries has been growing over the past decade as foodservice operators with their own baking shops choose the fresher, firmer textured frozen fruit.
- Frozen apples are available in both sliced and quartered form, with a growing use of bakers,” which are whole, cored apples with the skin on, ready for baking, or already baked and only awaiting heating to serve.
- Frozen peaches are available in halves, slices, or diced. Again, primarily for baking use, both cling and freestone varieties are available.
The largest quantity of blueberries frozen for foodservice trade goes into baking. But there is an increasing use on breakfast cereals and as a dessert dish.
Selling Frozen Fruit & Vegetables
While there is not an exact counterpart for every canned fruit and vegetable item in the distributor’s stock, frozen fruit and vegetables provide a fresher, more elegant alternative to any operator who has been depending upon canned product for his menu. In addition, the still-growing popularity of salad bars opens up new opportunities for sales of frozen green beans and cut corn.
An area in which at least some operators still require education is in proper preparation of frozen vegetables. Many still tend to overcook them. Suggest steaming or microwaving frozen vegetables. If they are to be held on a steam table, the setting should be reduced from 190′ to 160’F, the proper holding temperature.
You can see: What Is IQF? (Definition and Examples)