Plant-based foods are beginning to achieve ubiquity across the industry, with Datassential reporting 35 percent year-over-year growth from 2020 to 2021. The craze is largely driven by younger diners who make up an ever-increasing portion of the American spending population. Good Food Institute reports that 63 percent of millennials are trying to make plant-based food a part of their diet, while 65 percent of Gen Z finds plant-based menu items appealing.
“According to recent research by Mintel, there are multiple factors driving this growth in plant-based eating,” says the AFP Innovation Team. “These factors include concern for the environment, health and wellness considerations, ethics, and diversity in protein sourcing.”
But while it seems every large quick-service brand is rolling out a new plant-based burger, or protein, the AFP Innovation Team believes there’s a real opportunity for brands to make an impact with plant-based cheese sauce. Not only can plant-based cheese sauce help chefs and operators turn a plant-based burger, say, into a flexitarian-centric item, but it can also be an operationally advantageous addition to a menu. Here are four reasons why.
As was noted above, younger diners are craving plant-based items. They are seeing more and more options pop up on menus and gravitating toward those eateries. AFP, with its all-new Muy Fresco® Plant-Based Cheese Sauce, offers operators an opportunity to excite and impress these younger diners with something they may not have seen yet. It’s also an easy way to create innovative menu items without having to bring in multiple SKUs or ingredients.
“In trying to balance costs, trends, and value, we see plant-based cheese sauce as an efficient way for your kitchen operation to add plant-based options to a menu,” says the AFP Innovation Team. “Muy Fresco® Plant-Based Cheese Sauce is designed to take your plant-based item from flavorful to craveable.”
Muy Fresco® Plant-Based Cheese Sauce comes in two flavors—nacho and cheddar—and is a turnkey innovation solution. It’s a one-for-one substitute for dairy-based cheese sauce or slices that would top a burger, sandwich, or nachos. It’s also an efficient way to turn something like a plant-based burger into an entirely plant-based meal.
“From dipping fries, tots, onions, buffalo cauliflower to drenching a veggie burger or for mac n cheese, there are endless possibilities,” the AFP Innovation Team says. “And not only is it valuable to the operator through its versatility with the many different menu applications, but plant-based cheese sauce also hits on health, craveability, and comfort which delivers value for the consumer.”
- Food Cost Affordability
Muy Fresco® Plant-Based Cheese Sauce can also be operationally advantageous because of the extended shelf life. Less shrink can lower food costs which is more pivotal now than ever before considering the scourge of ingredients that have inflated in price.
“There is a premium on refrigeration space, so any way operators can remove items from the refrigerator and save it for key perishables is a value to them,” the AFP Innovation Team says. “AFP’s low-acid aseptic technology allows our plant-based cheese sauce to maintain its flavorful cheesy taste without the use of artificial ingredients. That provides an operator with a great product that has a longer ambient storage shelf life.”
- Premium Ingredient
According to the AFP Innovation Team, Muy Fresco® Plant-Based Cheese Sauce can be leveraged as a premium product and can appear on menus as an upcharge, helping create higher margins. The best part about this for operators is that the plant-based cheese sauce is a single SKU that can be used to elevate various dishes across a menu, all while making a restaurant more profitable.
“The beauty is that most chefs and operators have the ingredients to make a delicious plant-based dish in their pantry right now,” says the AFP Innovation Team. “No need to add additional SKUs to your order. Create Southwestern Loaded Nachos, Zucchini Fries, a Vegan Mushroom Burger—the list goes on, and they’re all scrumptious, easy-made dishes for tomorrow’s menu.”
Plant-based cheese sauce is coming soon. Want to learn more about adding it to your menu? Reach out now to the AFP team.