Food with roots
In a recent trend-mapping report, CCD Innovation, a food and beverage product development company, pointed to the difference in how consumers look at foods promoting health and wellness now compared to during the economic doldrums of 2009.
Then, consumers were responding to functionally fortified and highly engineered food. Now they’re turning to spices, berries, roots and nuts that are “healthful traditional food and ingredients. Then, exotic superfruits such as açaí and goji berries were trendy, now interest is growing in local and seasonal fruits. Then, Americans were looking for quick bursts of energy from guarana and caffeine. Now they’re looking for the sustained energy of natural sources of protein and fiber such as lean meat and whole grains.
That’s reflected in the summer berry salad recently introduced by Friendly’s Ice Cream. It’s made with grilled chicken and summer berries on baby spinach with toasted almonds and a three-cheese blend. Similarly, Fogo de Chão is offering a strawberry, endive and spinach salad, as well as one with quinoa, edamame and roasted corn.
Meat as a condiment
Of course bacon continues to be a popular hamburger topping, but this summer other meats are going on top of meat in a continuation of the protein trend we’ve seen all year and a certain more-is-better approach being taken on occasions when customers want to splurge on calories.
That’s reflected in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s seasonal special, the Texas BBQ Thickburger, for which the chains’ charbroiled 100 percent Black Angus beef. The Thickburger patty is topped with smoked beef brisket in spicy mesquite barbecue sauce, as well as fried jalapeño and onion strips and melted American cheese. Similarly, Red Robin is topping its beef patty with chopped smoked brisket, provolone and grilled onions, along with two different barbecue sauces for a summertime LTO called The Colossus Burger.