The Caterer

Promoted article: Tender loving care – Catering for the veggie revolution

05 March 2019 by
Promoted article: Tender loving care – Catering for the veggie revolution

With diners becoming increasingly health conscious but refusing to compromise on flavour, Tenderstem® can make an intriguing addition to your menu

Healthy lifestyle choices are increasingly governing consumer choice. Products that can deliver on the "no waste" agenda, as well as offering nutritional benefits for physical health and mental wellbeing, are topping our menu choice priorities.

"Products with minimum food waste are giving a positive energy boost to a market that is increasingly focused on a combination of health, convenience and
efficiency," says Andrew Jones, managing director of fresh produce supply specialists Provenance Partners.

"If they help to address our increased consciousness to the benefits of holistic wellbeing, they then add even greater value to this dynamic and convenient category, which is constantly striving to meet customer demand and lifestyle choices in creative and innovative ways.

Development chefs are using Tenderstem® in a wide variety of cuisines, in stir fries, salads, on pizzas and as a succulent side for traditional meat and fish dishes.


"We sell large volumes of ready-to-use products with Tenderstem® as the headline ingredient. You only need to rinse it and put it straight into the wok, pan or microwave.

It is appealing across all age groups and diners; kids love it because of the sweet stems, foodies because of its superior taste and how well it complements unusual dishes, and traditional customers due to the universal appeal of a no-waste agenda."

Only the best
Restaurant operators should look out for Tenderstem® logo on the 500g bags as there is a definite consumer following for the superior qualities of Tenderstem® versus other sprouting broccoli.

Andy Weir, head of marketing at Reynolds Catering Supplies - the UK's leading independent fruit and vegetable supplier to the UK foodservice eating out industry - said that menu choices were reflecting lifestyles such as vegan and vegetarian, but the bigger picture was general health and wellbeing.

He comments: "The vast majority of our clients are embracing vegan food, given the increased focus on meatfree dining across the UK. Tenderstem® has definitely benefitted from this change in direction and is a popular item with many of our clients, across many different dishes. Its menu appeal is driven by many factors, including colour, consistency, ease of preparation, plate coverage and - of course - flavour."

Development chef at the Botanist, Mark York, says Tenderstem side dishes are a hit with customers
Development chef at the Botanist, Mark York, says Tenderstem side dishes are a hit with customers

What's on the menu?
Development chefs are embracing the healthy food agenda with aplomb, creating innovative dishes that put vegetables at the centre of their menu.

The New World Trading Company - the casual dining innovators behind major UK brands including the Botanist, the Club House, the Trading House, the Oast House and Smugglers Cove - closely monitors lifestyle trends and customer feedback to inform its menu options.

Development chef Mark York says: "The veggie and vegan trend continues to grow, but customers are increasingly looking for vitamin-rich dishes and healthy menu options, whatever their food and lifestyle choices.

"When I joined NWTC at the end of 2017, I was given an open brief to redevelop their menus, improve presentation and increase the quality of ingredients in the dishes, so Tenderstem® was perfect. It has all the qualities we look for when sourcing ingredients: it's versatile, it packs taste and texture, it looks wonderful on the plate and holds a host of health benefits.

"The different methods of cooking Tenderstem® make it the perfect ingredient to incorporate in multiple dishes across our menus. One of our most popular side dishes with guests at the Botanist, for example, is Tenderstem® with flaked roasted almonds.

"The slender stems allow for beautiful and tidy presentation and Tenderstem® is a product that our guests associate with high quality. That's really important to us as a restaurant operator as we strive to achieve the highest levels of quality with every dish we prepare."

Tenderstem® is a cross between Chinese kale and regular broccoli, naturally bred by Japanese vegetable seed specialist Sakata. Low in calories and high in fibre, it is also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as folate, a B vitamin, which is effective in supporting our immune system. Tenderstem® is available in 500g ready-to-serve bags that are a firm favourite with restaurant operators.

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