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Keeping it real

clean label natural ingredients restaurant

The movement toward real ingredients and clean labels has reshaped the restaurant world in the last year. A growing number of consumers are demanding quality, healthfulness and transparency in food.

“It is very strong right now, and when you look at consumer insights about the younger generation, you sense that it is not going to change,” says Trip Kadey, director of culinary for The French’s Food Company.

In fact, 25 percent of consumers say they have switched to healthier meat and poultry products within the last year, according to Packaged Facts research. More than 30 percent of consumers are cautious about serving foods with preservatives, up from 24 percent ten years ago, reports The NPD Group. And when the National Restaurant Association polled chefs for its What’s Hot 2016 Culinary Forecast, natural ingredients/minimally processed foods ranked as a top five trend.

French’s has a long history of focusing on real and natural ingredients. The “We Promise” statement on French’s labels is a commitment to using the best ingredients, creating great-tasting products and strengthening communities. Those are principles the company has stood for since its earliest days.

French’s® Classic Yellow® Mustard, which debuted on hot dogs at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, is still all-natural, stone ground and made with number-one-grade mustard seeds.

“There were no chemicals or artificial colorings in food back then,” says Kadey. “The only thing that makes this mustard a beautiful vibrant yellow is the turmeric that goes in for color and flavor.”

Frank’s RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is another well-known industry staple. “You don’t get any more natural and real than ingredients like aged cayenne peppers, vinegar, a little garlic and salt,” says Kadey. “It’s the same product that they put on the first Buffalo wings in a bar and grill in Buffalo, New York, in 1964.”

Similarly, French’s® Tomato Ketchup is free of high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors and gluten. “Our customers asked us for a fructose-free ketchup at a reasonable price, made with the best tomatoes and a really natural, clean, fresh taste,” Kadey says.

Two other members of The French’s Food Company family, Cattlemen’s® Memphis Sweet® BBQ Sauce and Cattlemen’s® Carolina Tangy Gold™ BBQ Sauce, are being relaunched in new formulations free from high-fructose corn syrup and caramel color. The other Cattlemen’s® barbeque sauce flavors are in the process of reformulation as well.

“Cattlemen’s® has always been a real food product,” says Kadey. “We have never thickened a barbecue sauce with modified food starch in place of real ingredients like real, thick tomato paste and real molasses.”

Additionally, French’s stands with the community by maintaining a zero-waste manufacturing plant, planting trees for a healthier environment and supporting social causes.

The time is now for operators to take action on these issues—it’s a golden opportunity to impress consumers who could be patrons for decades to come.

“There are 13-year-old kids who are actual food activists,” says Kadey. “They are really driving demand for clean and better-for-you food.”
 

This post is sponsored by The French's Food Company

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