With the arrival of the New Year, foodservice professionals pay special attention to what researchers predict as the next big trend for the industry. On the non-commercial side, beverages are always important, and smoothies stand out with the largest growth potential according to a recent article in Foodservice Director.

Blended drinks will rule the roost in the C&U and Healthcare markets

Consumers are looking for healthier drink choices and smoothies answer the call with a variety of fruit, seed and vegetable ingredients.

So what exactly IS a smoothie? In addition to fresh fruit, many smoothies include ice, frozen fruit, syrups, or even vegetables. They have a milkshake-like consistency that is thicker than a slushie. They also often contain a dairy-component such as milk, yogurt or ice cream. What’s best in a smoothie? Anything you want: fresh or frozen fruit, vegetables, seeds, oats, protein powders, herbs, spices, yogurt, milk, juice…the ingredient possibilities are endless. The benefits of this beverage is the versatility of the ingredients you can include and as diverse as the kitchen ingredients currently on the shelf, in the refrigerator or with your local supplier or farmer’s market.

Foodservice Director says that blended drinks will rule the roost in the C&U market. That makes sense as students are on the go and lean towards a quick meal or snack to keep them going. Surviving on a college budget, a $5 smoothie for a meal replacement is attractive. Also, this youthful market is flooded with information through technology 24/7. They hear the latest news on nutrition and disease prevention which greatly impacts their buying behavior and lifestyle choices.

In healthcare, smoothies are an easy way for people to take in essential nutrients on their time schedule regardless of ability. Smoothies are easy to sip, fresh and flavorful, and provide a cool, refreshing meal replacement or snack for patients, visitors, and staff. Plus, smoothies can be easily tailored to meet nutritional goals with the addition of nutrients and healthful supplements.

Healthier and happier in 2015!

Add celery, cucumber, broccoli or sprouts for a nutrition boost.

Overall, consumers are looking for healthier drink choices and smoothies answer the call with a variety of fruit, seed and vegetable ingredients. “Superfoods” have been buzzing lately: chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds, Acai berries, hemp, and Cacao powder to name a few. Another trend is rotating leafy greens like kale, cabbage, bok choy, chard, beet greens, and carrot tops into these vitamin rich drinks to increase energy, detox, prevent disease, and/or slim down.

If you’re looking to add a “winner” to your 2015 beverage menu, it is definitely worth considering smoothies. Commercial and non-commercial markets show growth potential, with C&U and Hospitals showing the most promise. However, with the millennial population growing in purchase power, restaurants, fast casual, fast food and frozen yogurt and ice cream shops should be ready for increasing demand.

170 locations nationwide

170 locations nationwide

Big warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s have carried products in bulk for many years but you may notice a new player in town – one that doesn’t have a club membership fee – the Gordon Food Service Store. Have you seen one? These 170 stores are located primarily in the Midwest but can also be found in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. For a location finder, please click here.

The Gordon Food Service Store is a division of Gordon Food Service, the nation’s largest family-owned foodservice distributor. Why are we telling you about this store? Because they stock our Frostline Simply Smoothies™ base mix as well as our Chocolate and Vanilla soft serve mixes. The chain also carries DOLE Soft Serve’s soft serve mix varieties in Pineapple and Orange.

Healthier Eating Lends Itself to Smoothies

Healthier Eating Lends Itself to Smoothies

The benefit of shopping at a Gordon Food Service Store is that you get the expertise of a foodservice company that understands the complexities of cooking in bulk and the time limitations for shopping. Their goal is to line their shelves with the most popular food service products including restaurant supplies, paper products and refrigerated, frozen and dry foods so that you can get what you need, when you need it, at a price that works. Plus, for smaller businesses, shipping charges can really eat into food costs. If you’ve located a store near you, it might be worth the trip to stock up on dry soft serve and frozen beverage mixes. With a year shelf-life, there isn’t the worry of spoilage. For more food cost savings, their website houses money-saving coupons and a weekly savings ad. Another value-added benefit through Gordon Food Service is custom menu planning with Menu Wizard and Gordon GO!, a loyalty program.

If you are a restaurant, non-profit, hotel, day-care, caterer or party planner, you might check them out. After all, it’s nice to experience something new in the New Year that could save you time and money. Win-win!

Check to see if there is a location near you.

Gordon Food Service Store understands cooking in bulk and shopping time limitations.

From the desk of Kirk Jaudes, VP Sales & Marketing, Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc.

Kirk Jaudes shares his insight for today's restaurant business

Operators Need Solutions for Today’s Challenging Restaurant Business

As the foodservice industry continues to evolve, there are certain strategies that are timeless. Serving great food in a great atmosphere at a fair price is one of those tenants that create success. As we look around our industry we continue to see pioneers who step out by faith to start a business that has one of the highest failure rates in business. Yet these passionate foodies seek to find a niche in every market in our country.  So how do we help them succeed?

Passionate food service entrepreneurs are always looking for the latest trends. “Sustainability and waste reduction are increasingly important issues across the restaurant and foodservice industry,” according to Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association as stated in an October 2013 press release. It’s on everyone’s radar. This creates both challenges and opportunities when it applies to distribution and how food manufacturers respond to this trend.

Small footprint restaurants are emerging quickly. We continue to see a great number of new restaurants opening in 1,200-1,500 square feet locations. This creates opportunities for small distributors, cash and carry stores as well as local farms to supply this type of operation. Cash flow is priority for these new entrepreneurs and high dollar drop sizes tie up much needed cash. With the large broadline distributors requiring drop sizes of $500 or more, it limits the small operator’s ability to meet these demands. And along with the smaller footprint comes less refrigerated and freezer space. This is where dry mix companies can capitalize. Dry mix products take up less storage space and offer the operator small batch options. Frostline is a leader in dry mix frozen treats, offering flavor varieties, simplicity and cost control.

As I stated earlier, there are foundational elements that will never change. People buy from people, and they buy more from people who take an active interest in their success. Manufacturer sales reps, broker sales reps and distributor sales reps are most successful when they bring the operator solutions. Today’s environment requires more than a good price, we need to provide menu applications that are on trend and a consulting sales approach with the end result of bringing more customers through our customers’ doors. And one last thing that should never change in a sales call is asking for the order. If we can apply these things to our daily business strategies we will all succeed.

Healthier Eating Lends Itself to Smoothies

It’s near 2015 and foodservice operators are looking at predicted trends for the New Year. As the latest health and nutritional information floods the web, we know consumers will continue to demand healthier, simpler, more clearly labeled foods. Another trend we anticipate escalating in our busy world is convenience. When you combine these trends, fruit and vegetable smoothies become the perfect response to consumer requirements. According to IFT (Institute of Food Technologists), beverages remain the largest U.S. functional product sector¹.

Healthier and happier in 2015!

Just add kiwi, lemonade, Simply Smoothies base mix, water and ice.

Does your establishment currently have a smoothie offering? If not, we think 2015 is the year to invest in a blender and start experimenting with flavor. Our Simply Smoothies™ base mix is a powder base mix that makes it easy to create rich, creamy smoothies without the need for an expensive yogurt or dairy base. Your shopping list can focus on fruits (fresh or frozen) and vegetables (fresh or frozen), or perhaps you’ll find that the best flavor combinations are made with items you already buy and have on hand.

Our product has been tested and blends easily in most commercial blenders but if you don’t currently own a good blender, we recommend you check out Blendtec and Vitamix. Consumer Reports’ experts agree with us, listing the top two picks as the Vitamix 5200 and the Blendtec Designer 725. Check out the complete article here. A reliable, powerful blender is a necessity for making a large volume of smoothies on a regular basis. Blending ice and frozen fruit can sometimes jam or break blender blades. Obviously, this is not a welcome surprise. Also, blenders vary with longevity so making sure to research long-term durability is key.

Take smoothies to the next level.

Over 30 smoothie recipes to blend.

Once you have your blender and are ready to experiment, we’ve put together a recipe Idea Book as well as seasonal flyers for winter, spring, summer and fall to get you started. Colorful veggies like carrots, kale, and chard easily combine with berries and melons to make a super-food smoothie. Want to give it a whirl? Leave us a comment and we’ll send you a sample of our Simply Smoothie base mix. It is gluten free, low fat and low sodium – a portrait of the 2015 healthy food trend.

¹The Top Ten Functional Food Trends A. Elizabeth Sloan, April 2014, Volume 68, No.4 accessed 11/21/14 http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2014/april/features/toptentrends.aspx?page=viewall

With Frostline®, preparation is simple – just 4 easy steps – fill, stir, mix and pour.

Have soft serve machine? Get to mixing!

Operators love serving Frostline because it is delicious and profitable!

Step 1 – Fill a clean, complimentary Frostline mixing bucket to the indicated red line with cold tap water. If using a Frostline Flavor Packet, add contents of packet and stir until dissolved.

Step 2 – Add entire contents of Frostline dry soft serve or frozen yogurt mix to the mixing bucket and stir with a wire whisk creating a vortex.

Step 3 – Continuing stirring the mixture, making sure to keep the vortex going, and stopped when thoroughly mixed (about 2 minutes).

Step 4 – Pour the mixture into your commercial soft serve machine (Frostline works in ALL commercial soft serve machines) or cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. FDA requires product temperature to reduce to 41°F within 4 hours and to remain at or below 41°F.

Once your mix is inside of the hopper, you should have The Perfect Frozen Treat™ in about 10 minutes (please refer to your machine’s owner’s manual for exact freezing times)! The liquid yield for each mix is 2.5 gallons per bag or 15 gallons per case.  Frostline estimates you get about 113 – ½ cup prepared servings per bag and about 678 servings per case If you have any questions or want to place an order, please call us at 1-800-442-5242.

Please check out our newest mixing video on YouTube to see Frostline in ACTION!

 

Birthday Cake flavor packet

Excuses, excuses! No more excuses not to eat birthday cake! We recently perfected our newest soft serve flavor Birthday Cake and it is BLUE! You might ask why we choose this flavor and color combination over a billion other combinations? The answer is simple – we think it’s time for a celebration!

Frostline Birthday Cake Flavor Packet

Cone or dish? Celebrate flavor with our newest flavor packet – Birthday Cake!

Kids perusing an ice cream parlor are drawn to a selection that makes a statement with a bold color and a crazy fun name. We’ve all been there…red, blue, orange, black, purple, hot pink; they exude fun AND hold the possibility of a color-stained tongue. Don’t believe us? Tom Kerber Jr. of Kerber’s Dairy in Pennsylvania said, “Most kids…they don’t care what flavor the ice cream is…they care what color!” He added, “…Anything that sounds really goofy or fun, they like that!” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bright colors and creative names don’t just attract kids but they are proven to attract the young at heart too. According to Food Business News in May, manufacturers are “keying in on childhood classics, with s’mores, peanut butter and jelly, and birthday cake among featured flavors in new products.” Birthday cake’s popularity resulted in the introduction of birthday cake-flavored M&M’s, Oreos, vodka, and America’s favorite Easter chicks – Peeps.

There is no denying that color attracts but when it’s in a soft serve machine, flavor variations are equally as important. Plus, let’s face it, there is a seasonality to soft serve, and a good survival tactic in the off-season is offering trendy flavors. In response to the “featured flavor” trend, we created flavor packets that can be purchased in packs of 12 and 36 and yield 113 servings per packet. Favorites for fall include, Pumpkin, Kettle Corn and Dulce de Leche. Once the winter holidays set in, Peppermint, Egg Nog and Gingerbread are safe bets and when spring arrives, Matcha Green Tea, Banana Split and Chocolate Lovers fit the bill. At the height of soft serve season, adding flavors such as Valencia Orange, Strawberry Shortcake and Sun-Ripened Raspberry can be a refreshing change. Check out our complete list here.

Coffee Craving

Give them a “cup of joe” in the form of soft serve.

Although, flavor packets make implementing seasonal flavors quick and easy, Frostline has many recipes for creating your own unique soft serve just by adding one additional ingredient to our soft serve mix. For example, soda varieties like Mountain Dew, Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper create a taste-tempting teenage delight and for younger kids, adding grape juice or apple cider lures them in! For adults, black coffee easily transforms into “a cone of joe” or a local microbrew will spike up a hopper quickly and tastefully!

Want to try our newest flavor – Birthday Cake? Please leave us a comment on this blog and we will send you a sample. All you need is a soft serve machine and vanilla soft serve mix! The flavor packet is easily added while mixing the soft serve mix with water. Check out our newest mixing video!

Celebrate EVERYDAY with Frostline! For pennies per serving, you can attract families to dine at your restaurant or soft serve shop and keep coming back for more! Especially if you rotate seasonal flavors in between your gold standard vanilla and chocolate!

Celebrate National Soft Serve Day August 19

Celebrate National Soft Serve Day August 19

The dreaded drip n’ slip, broken ice cream scoops, arm and wrist scoopers’ pain, tension from ice cream balls falling off of the cone, deep dip hip discomfort from leaning into the freezer, and the awful cross contamination of ice cream scoops being dipped in different flavors. The dangers of hard-packed ice cream are evident. We say “Put Down the Scoop” and save people from ice cream related accidents! This is why we are working with “People Against Ice Cream Related Accidents (PAICRA) to promote soft serve ice cream – the safer frozen treat!

Soft Serve is the safer choice! Put Down The Scoop!

Soft Serve is the safer choice! Put Down The Scoop!

In all seriousness, Frostline® Frozen Treats, is celebrating National Soft Serve Day, August 19. We invite operators to join us in a little fun centered on the benefits of serving soft serve ice cream over traditional hard packed ice cream.  We created PAICRA, a fictional organization, to shine a light on scoop-related injuries and misfortunes. Utilizing social media, we plan to showcase humorous mishaps that often occur when scooping hard packed ice cream as well as encourage soft serve vendors to share stories or images with us and their followers. Other fun ways to celebrate National Soft Serve Day include hosting tallest swirl contests, offering discounts on soft serve, or highlighting  new, unique flavor varieties.

Restaurants, frozen yogurt shops and other businesses who offer soft serve ice cream are encouraged by Frostline® to participate in the August 19 national holiday. We have limited supplies of t-shirts, posters, and product samples to support your efforts.  Please leave us a comment on this blog and we will be in touch!

Picture yourself as the customer…It’s summer, you’ve been outside enjoying the day and now you are hungry for a snack. You want a healthy snack, something that will refresh you but not make you feel guilty, after all, it will be dinnertime in just a few hours. What sounds perfect? A fruit smoothie! If the customer is lucky, your establishment is nearby and they will check out your menu!

Combine ingredients and blend!

Just add lemonade, base mix, frozen strawberries and ice for a refreshing smoothie!

Pina Colada, Kiwi Kicker, Bananarama, Pineapple Upside Down, Summer BerryAde, Mango Madness, Beach Berry, Sunkissed Raspberry…what will it be? Sounds tempting, right?

According to Mintel Menu Monitor, February 2014, the top 10 smoothie flavors are:

  1. Strawberry
  2. Banana and Strawberry
  3. Mango
  4. Berry
  5. Peach
  6. Raspberry
  7. Chocolate
  8. Vanilla
  9. Orange
  10. Banana
Add Fruit, Ice and Water to Make a Smoothie

Fruit Smoothies Add Choices to Your Beverage Menu

Achieving these flavor varieties is simple and only requires fresh or frozen fruit. No risk of milk or yogurt spoiling when using a base mix like Simply Smoothies™. As an operator, there are many benefits to offering smoothies:

  1. Have blender? Make smoothies!
  2. Effortless. Simply measure 2 scoops of smoothie base mix, ¾ cup fresh or frozen fruit, ¾ cup ice, ½ cup cold water and BLEND! 16fl ounces of smoothie in under 60 seconds.
  3. Profitable. We estimate it will cost operators $1.30 to make a smoothie if using fruit with the Simply Smoothies™ base mix. The average sales price for a smoothie is $3.99. This is a gross profit of $2.69 per smoothie, translating to a yearly gross profit of over $15,000 if 16 smoothies are sold a day.
  4. Year-round demand. Consumers order smoothies as snacks round the clock, especially fruit smoothies! They are viewed as healthy snacks!
  5. No waste. Simply Smoothies™ base mix comes in a 4.8lb canister which yields 39 smoothies. The canister is resealable and comes with a premeasured scoop. Single-serve packets are available for operators who would rather take it one smoothie at a time.
Take smoothies to the next level!

Over 30 smoothie recipes to blend!

Want to step outside of the single flavor box? We have great flavor ideas for your beverage menu in our FREE Simply Smoothies™ Idea Book. Also, our seasonal recipe flyers allow you to just plug and play or should we say purchase, blend and serve! Our summer flyer has four delicious flavors: Watermelon Basil, Fruit Pizza, Key Lime Pie, and Raspberry Pink Lemonade.

What are you waiting for? DIVE IN to SMOOTHIES!

In 2014, is it still relevant to offer milkshakes on your beverage menu? That depends on your target market, current menu and business location. If you sell hamburgers, we will give you a firm answer YES! If you have a drive-thru and you currently offer soft-serve, we say YES! If your establishment draws a family crowd, we say YES! Not identifying with any of the situations we described? Consider equally profitable iced beverages or smoothies.

The key to increasing sales for both milkshakes and other frozen beverages is offering a product that the consumer perceives as too difficult or not as good if prepared at home. Denny’s, coined as America’s Diner™, experienced firsthand how adding new coffee and milkshake flavors could increase the bottom line. They attributed their increase in guest check averages to their expanded beverage menu selections.

Milkshakes are profitable additions to your beverage menu.

What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

Make Room for Milkshakes
First, if you already serve soft serve – milkshakes are an easy addition. According to MINTEL’s “Trends in Snacking and Value Menus in Foodservice-U.S. June 2012” , 19% of consumers typically order shakes as a snack. The most popular age group who order shakes is ages 18-24, which translates to 1/3 of the beverage market. The profitability margin is outstanding with shakes. We estimate your cost to a couple pennies per ounce for an 8 ounce serving. Each bag of shake mix yields approximately 59 milkshakes or 472 ounces.

With shake mix…if you can imagine it, you can make it. Premium milkshakes attract consumers craving something outside of the traditional chocolate, strawberry and vanilla milkshake flavors. Mixing in candy, cookies, flavored syrups, fresh or frozen fruit, peanut butter, or protein powders add more variety to your milkshake menu. A spindle blender will marry anything with vanilla soft serve and mix it to the perfect thick and creamy consistency that milkshake lovers crave. The cost of the added ingredients ups your food costs a bit, but with a higher menu price, your profitability is still looking great. Another idea for milkshakes that is trending in foodservice is offering alcoholic shakes. According to a recent USA Today article, Red Robin is offering Wine Shakes made with wine, vodka, mango puree and vanilla soft serve. The price tag for these doubles or triples that of the non-alcoholic kind.

Move over Starbucks

Mocha Iced Cappuccino

Add whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce for a craveable snack.

What about the lure of coffee-flavored beverages? If your business attracts customers throughout the day looking for a filling snack, you should consider offering Iced Cappuccinos. An added bonus; people like iced coffee beverages year-round. Our dry mixes, Mocha or French Vanilla flavored, are blended with water or milk to produce a rich and creamy coffee flavored frozen treat. The only equipment you need is a good blender or a granita machine. According to Coffee Talk magazine, the average margin for a frozen beverage ranges between 65% and 70%.

If you want more affirming facts on increasing sales, look no further than your nearest convenience store. According to NPD research, iced and slushy coffees have been growing by double digits for the last five years. Convenience Store Decisions reported that in 12 months, iced coffee alone grew 7% and frozen slushy sales increased by 14%. Think of the growth that McDonald’s saw when they began offering flavored iced coffees. Add a little whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce and you have yourself a craveable snack.

When to Add Smoothies – A Sign of the Times
Anytime! We think adding smoothies to beverage menus is smart. Messages bombard us everyday about healthful eating, disease prevention and obesity. Smoothies, especially fruit smoothies, exude the perception of “healthy”. Frostline Simply Smoothies™ base mix is low in fat (2 grams), sodium and carbs and has zero grams of cholesterol. A trend that we don’t see diminishing is the one focused on kids eating healthier. With the new governmental regulations coming down on school lunch and the awareness of the new food guide, “My Plate”, parents are paying closer attention to what their kids eat and buying healthier foods. Fruit smoothies fit that bill. Packaged Facts, a leading source in food and beverage market research, expects sales of kids’ food and beverage to grow to a $30 billion by 2018.

Just add frozen fruit and ice to make a delicious, healthy smoothie.

Frostline Simply Smoothies™ base mix is low in fat (2 grams), sodium and carbs and has zero grams of cholesterol.

Regardless of how you choose to expand your beverage menu, we encourage you to do just that…EXPAND! A little extra goes along way when grabbing the attention of new customers or retaining old ones. In this world of hustle and bustle, fast casual and convenience, chill customers out with refreshing, cold beverages.

The market for lactose free and gluten-free foods and beverages is hot! With estimates that 70 –75% of the world’s population may be lactose intolerant¹ and 1 in 133 people in the U.S. are affected by Celiac Disease², operators are paying attention! Foodservice directors are adding lactose and gluten free (GF) products to their menus daily. In fact, with the rise in these two gastrointestinal conditions, all aspects of foodservice (healthcare, hotels/casinos, C&U, K-12 cafeterias, and restaurants) should take it very seriously.

Colleges & Universities (C&U) are responding to the trend. For example, Oregon State University has a gluten-free webpage that directs students to food stations that offer GF menu items including frozen yogurt and smoothies. Looking to the near future, University of Nevada – Reno is adding a vegan/gluten free eatery and a self-serve frozen yogurt station to their food court this fall.

Frostline is Gluten Free

Lactose and Gluten Free Soft Serve

Why the connection between lactose free and gluten-free? The physical symptoms someone experiences who is sensitive to either two are very similar: abdominal pain, excessive gas, cramping, bloating and nausea. A large portion of people who avoid gluten or lactose, do so primarily because of symptoms and not because of diagnosis. All they know is cause and effect; if they eat it, they suffer. For people with Celiac or gluten-sensitivity, an elimination diet is the only treatment². For lactose, there are medications that can help prevent symptoms¹.

So what can you do as an operator to make the most of this rising health concern? Offer gluten free and lactose free options! In 2011, U.S. and Europe hit a combined $900 million in retail sales for lactose free products³. Gluten free was listed #2 in Time magazine’s Top 10 Food Trends of 2012. The gluten free category is expected to become worth $6.6 billion by 2017 according to Packaged Facts.

Frostline® Frozen Treats can help you in the dessert portion of your gluten free or lactose free menu. Offering soft serve that is free from these two gastrointestinal targets will not only give you peace of mind but it will enhance your menu’s image. It’s hard to find a person that doesn’t like ice cream, but some people have given it up because of their special dietary concerns. In healthcare, a bowl of soft serve is a welcome treat for patients who crave something cold and sweet but have dietary restrictions that limit their selections. C&U students have meal plans to use and self-service soft serve is a nice draw. Lastly, soft serve is a family favorite at restaurants! Restaurants can entice larger groups and families to dine-in just by offering complimentary soft serve.

If you are interested in talking to someone about offering a GF or lactose free dessert, let us know! Frostline® offers soft serve mixes, frozen yogurt mixes, frozen beverage mixes (including smoothie base mix) and flavor packets. We are here to help!

Resources

¹ Cleveland Clinic http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/lactose_intolerence/hic_lactose_intolerance.aspx

² National Foundation of Celiac Awareness http://www.celiaccentral.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/

³ FoodBev.com http://www.foodbev.com/news/lactose-free-dairy-market-is-booming-say#.U0buv8JOWM8

 

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