Operators seek fast, efficient solutions to determine nutritional content.
Foodservice operators are leveraging digital technology in nearly every aspect of their business, from site selection to employee scheduling and, increasingly, in menu development and nutrition analysis.
As consumers grow more conscious about the ingredients and nutritional value in the foods they eat, and adopt an array of different dietary regimens, it has become progressively important for operators to plan their recipes accordingly and to provide customers with accurate information.
Consumers are seeking more nuanced health and nutrition information about the foods they eat, according to research firm L.E.K. Consulting. “Rather than gravitate to a handful of popular trends, consumers are seeking an increasingly diverse array of benefits from their food and beverage consumption,” the firm says in a report on its 2018 consumer food and beverage survey.
Leveraging nutrition databases
In order to provide consumers with detailed nutrition information, operators may choose to outsource recipe analysis to firms that offer this service. But for many operators that could be an expensive, time-consuming and unreliable course of action. Instead, operators can consider leveraging a recipe nutrition database that can be accessed internally, allowing for efficient and cost-effective nutritional analysis of recipes on demand.
“Our main challenges were time and expertise,” says Aiden Keegan, national operations manager at Esquires Coffee, a U.K.-based chain that was seeking to be transparent about allergens in its foods and about their nutritional content.
“Undertaking this exercise ourselves would have resulted in our team spending a considerable amount of time gathering information from our product lines and suppliers, analyzing this data and reproducing it in a legally compliant format,” he says. “We don’t have any nutrition expertise in-house, so ensuring that our nutrition labeling is accurate also presented a challenge.”
Esquires chose to work with Nutritics, which offers a cloud-based set of recipe-analysis tools that allow operators to quickly calculate the nutrient content of recipes. The chain selected Nutritics because of its range of functionality, extensive ingredient databases, high level of customer support and ease of use. Nutritics has been active in the ingredient-analysis space outside the U.S. for some time and is becoming more widely available in the U.S. through a partnership with DayMark.
Keegan says that offering allergen and nutrition information has not only helped Esquires remain compliant with E.U. allergen-labeling laws, but it has also helped give the chain a competitive advantage.
“We can now also upsell dishes based on their nutritional content,” he says, citing the promotion of high-protein items to exercise enthusiasts, for example.
Catering to health-conscious markets
“We can also design reduced calorie menus targeted at our more health-conscious markets,” he says. “This was a great benefit that was somewhat unexpected.
“Nutritics is a powerful tool in more ways than one if you have a creative team.”
For Australia-based Foodco, which franchises the Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue concepts in several different countries, ease of use was an important factor in selecting Nutritics.
“The system was easy to use, with clear and intuitive dashboards,” says Shane Middleton, food development specialist at Foodco. “We needed something that we could all pick up very quickly and begin using with minimal exposure and training.”
He also says having the flexibility to add ingredients to the Nutritics database has been valuable, and noted that nutritional content can be updated quickly if ingredients need to be substituted because of supplier issues, for example.
DayMark’s Director of Product Development Jill Carte believes that foodservice operators around the world can benefit from Nutritics’ robust database of ingredients -- and the ability to quickly and easily manage menu data and recipes.
“Collaborating with your team to analyze menu costs, provide regulation-ready nutrition facts to the public, and report necessary information is valuable to our customers.” Many customers also like to take Nutritics for a “test drive” before fully adopting the tool, adds Carte. To learn more, operators are invited to visit www.daymarksafety.com/nutritics-free-trial.
Article originally appeared on the Food Management website.