By Sophie Mir
It seems like there’s no stopping the growth of plant-based proteins. Beyond Meat continues to improve its market share, and traditional meat substitutes, like tofu, are still very much a part of modern menus. And in the spirit of swapping one thing for another, yuzu, a floral Japanese citrus, is becoming a standby on cocktail menus, replacing lemon and lime to give cocktails the requisite acidic kick. But lime, however, is still a go-to ingredient in condiments, though, with customers clamouring for a familiar flavour deployed in non-traditional ways.
Yuzu in Nonalcoholic and Alcoholic Beverages
Concepts are innovating their beverage menus by incorporating yuzu in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Since almost a third of consumers (31 per cent) ages 18 to 34 express that they like to try new and unique beverages at restaurants, according to Technomic’s 2018 Canadian Beverage Consumer Trend Report, operators should continue to infuse this nontraditional citrus fruit into drinks to appeal to younger consumers who are seeking novel flavours and ingredients. It’s also an easy ingredient to incorporate into most drink menus, since it can ably replace lemon or lime in cocktails.
- Earls Kitchen + Bar recently rolled out its limited-time Sparkling Yuzu Lemonade, an alcohol-free drink featuring yuzu, orange essence, lemon juice and soda.
- Cactus Club Cafe offers its Kyoto Fizz cocktail, made with yuzu, sake and Smirnoff vodka.
- West Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia menus its seasonal Bangkok Butterfly cocktail, spotlighting yuzu and vanilla.
Flavoured Lime Condiments
With 32 per cent of consumers reporting that they would like more restaurants to offer sauces featuring flavour combinations, according to Technomic’s 2017 Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report, operators are taking traditional flavours in sauces and condiments, such as lime, and incorporating contrasting tastes to add zing to their meat and veggie selections. Lime-laced condiments have diverse applications and can easily augment traditional dishes.
- Crabby Joe’s Bar & Grill offers Nashville Hot Chicken Tacos, featuring jalapeno-lime aioli.
- JJ Bean Coffee‘s Turkey Chorizo Breakfast Wrap, made with a turkey-chorizo hash, habanero mozzarella and cilantro-lime sauce.
- Browns Socialhouse recently debuted its Blackened Chicken Cowboy Salad featuring honey-lime vinaigrette.
Plant-Based Breakfast Fare
The plant-based movement continues to thrive across Canada with vegan selections popping up across breakfast menus in major chains. According to Technomic’s 2017 Canadian Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, over a third of consumers (34 per cent) are at least somewhat interested in vegan and vegetarian dishes for breakfast, and operators are responding by adding at least one or two plant-based options to appeal to these niche consumers. While Beyond Meat products have been increasingly showing up on menus, tofu and tofu substitutes are still popular.
- A&W was the first QSR chain in Canada to offer Beyond Meat products, and now has a line of burgers and breakfast sandwiches built on the now-famous plant-based protein.
- Tim Hortons recently introduced JUST Egg, a 100 per cent egg-free and dairy-free egg substitute, that can be used on any breakfast sandwich.
- JJ Bean Coffee menus its Beyond Breakfast Wrap, made with soft tofu scramble and Beyond Meat Italian Sausage Crumbles.
About the Author
Sophie Mir is an Associate Editor for Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. Visit technomic.com for more information.