If you’re an operator in the healthcare, college and university or corporate dining segments, you are likely adept at serving high volumes of people quickly with a tight labor budget. In this fast-paced, challenging environment, managing even seemingly minor details is vital.
An example is the broth in your kitchen. You may have been using the same brand of chicken or beef broth for years without giving it much thought. But perhaps you should take another look because the flavor of the broth and what it contains have a significant impact on the food you serve and how pleased your customers are.
“There is a common misconception that all broths are alike,” says Jaime Reeves, Director of College Inn Research and Development at Del Monte Foods. “Actually, there are significant differences in taste as well as in sodium content and the ingredients listed on the label.”
Tapping the trends
Broth is an ingredient that works behind the scenes rather than as the headliner of a dish. Whether customers are aware or not, it is a vital flavor builder in global cuisines, homestyle comfort fare and trendy plant-based dishes. Soups, stews, sauces, gravies and many main dishes employ a flavorful broth. Menu items such as rice pilaf, risotto, couscous, quinoa and potatoes make leaps in flavor when cooked in broth rather than water. What’s more, a ladle or two of broth ensures that pans of cooked foods served on the hot line remain moist and tasty throughout service.
Look around the onsite world and you’ll find broth performing key roles in popular dining concepts and healthful eating trends:
- Ramen, the Japanese-inspired noodle bowl dish built on a base of rich broth, is a fan favorite in onsite foodservice, especially in C&U dining halls.
- Self-serve soup bars are practical options for serving customers who descend on the cafeteria en masse at lunchtime. For example, the Soup Garden at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., offers a rotation of three gourmet soups daily, typically made with produce grown on the campus farm.
- Healthcare foodservice operators have embraced bone broths — which are rich in proteins and minerals and easily digestible — for clinical patient feeding. Now those tasty and satisfying broths are gaining popularity with the patrons of C&U dining halls and corporate cafeterias, too. Bona Fide, a Morrison Healthcare concept featuring bone broths, was named the Best Management Company Concept by Food Management magazine this year. The menu includes beef, chicken and mushroom broths that can be customized by adding proteins, grains and vegetables.
- Other types of broth, such as less-sodium, low-fat and organic, as well as those that are free of GMOs, MSG and gluten, appeal to the many onsite consumers who seek foods with good-for-you attributes and simpler, more natural ingredient labels.
- The plant-based eating trend that is growing throughout foodservice is the perfect stage for soups, side dishes and main courses based on vegetable broth and mushroom stock.
Optimizing time, labor and space
In a day of rising wages and a severe labor shortage, onsite operators are obliged to deploy their skilled kitchen staff in the most efficient and productive way. Few can justify the labor hours required to chop vegetables, roast bones and tend a simmering stockpot. Fortunately, there are high-quality prepared alternatives on the market.
“Flavor is typically the key attribute one looks for in broth, followed by performance and cost,” says Reeves. “Starting with a good, flavorful broth can make a vital difference in the quality of the end product.”
Because cartons and cans of prepared broth are space efficient to store and shelf stable, operators can keep a portfolio of different types for creative applications. “Chicken, beef, vegetable and bone broths, along with mushroom stock, offer chefs a variety of flavor profiles and notes to use in distinctive dishes,” Reeves says.
The College Inn difference
College Inn broths are slow-simmered from premium quality meats and bones, farm-grown vegetables and unique seasoning blends. They provide the authentic, made-from-scratch flavor that consumers crave, and are 100-percent natural, gluten free and MSG free. College Inn's portfolio includes classic chicken and beef broth, chicken and beef bone broths and less-sodium, organic and vegetarian options. They are available in convenient resealable cartons, so you can use just as much as you need and save the rest for later.
The bottom line is that some broths are tastier and more healthful than others. Operators should take a close look at the broth they use to ensure that they are serving an optimum quality product.
For more information about using College Inn broths in versatile culinary applications, visit http://products.delmontefoodservice.com/college-inn/.