Bacon, Sriracha, gluten-free, steaming bags… everyone in the food industry has jumped on trends like these. They go from niche to “the next big thing” and then inevitably lose their cachet and become too commonplace to create excitement anymore.
We’ve seen it happen before with value-added meal products.
The Cold Truth of Frozen Foods
TV dinners were a hit when they first came on the market. Inspired by none other than Pan American Airways, they were innovative uses of modern technology with a real convenience (and pricing) factor. But after the honeymoon phase ended, TV dinners left a lot to be desired with consumers.
In came the current stock of frozen food. Marginally more sophisticated and appetizing than the now-infamous TV dinner, you can find miles of freezer aisles devoted to family-sized, individual, restaurant-branded or even “healthy” frozen food. It’s not just for eating in front of the TV, it replaces home-cooked meals and brown bag lunches. But that’s part of the problem — consumers are getting over the convenience thing.
With demand for better preserved, better textured, better tasting and better-for-you prepared meal solutions, the food industry is shifting. Technology and cooking methods that maintain the color, feel, taste and nutrients of ingredients are going tomake today’s frozen food look like yesterday’s TV dinners.
Changing the Food Trend Game
It’s in a food business owner’s best interest to avoid blindly jumping on trends, but to identify the best opportunities and fully commit to doing it right. That’s why I’m not talking about investing in steaming or other cooking methods that don’t hit everything on a consumer’s checklist: flavor, taste, texture and nutritional value. I’m talking aboutoven-friendly packaging and sous vide meals. Consumers get better bang for the buck and vendors save on the bottom line.
These meal solutions use established techniques and new technology to deliver what consumers really want. I know because they’ve been clamouring for it. These options preserve everything from flavor to vitamins with similar (or the same) convenience of current frozen foods.
The funny thing is, sous vide isn’t actually that new. It just hasn’t made a splash like TV dinners… yet.
Consumers are getting smarter about food and demand options that reflect their ever-increasing expectations. In fact, well-read consumers already know about sous vide and can’t wait for it to become less exclusive. It’s niche for now, but we’re swimming upstream to make it available to the masses.
In an industry dominated by RTE and cheap convenience mindsets, this move doesn’t make sense to everyone. But by aligning ourselves with the largest sous vide manufacturer around, we’re able to provide the product that our early adopter customers need.