The demand for plant-based foods has risen astronomically. It is a trend being driven by the growing number of consumers adhering to a flexitarian-style diet, as well as those with food sensitivities and intolerances.
For some, the words “plant based” might evoke images of one-for-one swaps, but Richard Hoelzel, corporate executive chef at Idahoan® Foodservice, sees something else coming into focus.
“Consumers are discovering that there’s more to making plant-based alternatives better for you,” Hoelzel says. “Rather, clean-label products are something people are really starting to prioritize, along with plant-based alternatives.”
To meet the demand for clean-label, plant-based foods, chefs are turning toward potatoes. Potatoes are a nutritious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, dayparts, and cuisines. They can be served mashed or shredded in traditional sides, or used as a comforting, healthy base in creative bowls or salads.
“The potato is a vehicle,” Hoelzel says. “That’s how I look at it. When you talk about innovation, there are so many options when you are working with potatoes.”
The downside of raw potatoes, however, is their relatively short shelf-life and the high labor costs associated with preparation. That’s why chefs love Idahoan’s Honest Earth® line of clean label products, which are created using a proprietary cooking method to produce Fresh-Dried™ potatoes. The cooking method “honors the integrity of the potato,” Hoelzel says, while adding a host of operational advantages. Included in those advantages is the fact that the products carry a 12-month shelf life and therefore reduce food waste.
Unlike potatoes that have undergone traditional dehydrated methodologies, Idahoan’s Fresh-Dried™ potatoes remain structurally sound. That’s why Honest Earth products are considered speed-scratch ingredients—they perform and taste the way a potato should. Best of all, chefs get the credit for this while cutting back on labor otherwise spent prepping potatoes.
Hoelzel uses the Honest Earth Creamy Mashed Potatoes or the Honest Earth Rustic Mashed Potatoes in globally inspired bowls, like a Mashed Potato and Tofu Curry Bowl, or a Sweet Chili Pork Bowl with Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Honest Earth Hash Brown Shredded Potatoes open up a world of possibilities on every single menu—they can be made into Hash Brown Latkes or served as the base of a Cajun Crawfish Creole Bowl, for example.
Each Honest Earth product contains simple, familiar ingredients. The Honest Earth Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Honest Earth Rustic Mashed Potatoes contain Fresh-Dried™ potatoes, and a hint of sea salt and butter for flavor and texture. Honest Earth Shredded Potatoes contain Fresh-Dried™ potatoes, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Chefs only need to add water, or some other liquid—Hoelzel even recommends coconut milk, or stock—to refresh the potatoes and enable a world of plant-based innovation.
“Nobody out there is doing potatoes the way we do them,” Hoelzel says. “These are clean-label potatoes that perform exactly the same as if you made them in-house. It’s truly a scratch-quality, foodservice-friendly, plant-based ingredient.”
For more on Honest Earth, visit idahoanfoodservice.com/honestearth.
By Charlie Pogacar