12/3/2015 3:07 PM
How many of you love dousing your noodles with Sriracha? What about using chipotle peppers in your favorite Mexican dishes? Spicy global flavors have become a favorite amongst consumers, and healthcare foodservice operators are making changes to their menus to include these flavor profiles.
By expanding flavor profiles to include new spices and ethnic foods, foodservice operators appeal to changing consumer tastes, generate excitement and offer bigger opportunities for expanding the bottom line (http://www.foodservicedirector.com/sponsored-content/featured-content/articles/spice-right).
One trend that we have seen in foodservice is that consumers want to try new things and learn about the food they eat. Chef and cookbook author Bal Arneson is known as the "Spice Goddess" and she works with Compass Group to develop healthy recipes that focus on a global use of spices. Through her work, Arneson has seen how consumers are embracing new spicy flavors in healthcare facilities. One of the crowd favorites at a senior-living facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. included her recipe for a lentil-chai cookie, an Indian-inspired dish. By offering global spices in a familiar dish (like a cookie), patients can easily be introduced to new flavors. (http://www.foodservicedirector.com/sponsored-content/featured-content/articles/spice-right)
Food also has a direct, measurable impact on human health and this is important for healthcare foodservice operators to keep in mind . According to Arneson, adding global spices to dishes is a way to boost flavor and health. Cooking with spices reduces your sodium tremendously, making these flavors appealing for use in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
By offering multiple menu options with new spices and ethnic food options, patients have choice, which generates to their overall excitement and well-being. For example, the UCLA Health System provides a hotel-style room service for patients whereby they can order from a menu featuring more than 40 different ethnically and culturally diverse dishes. Options also include vegetarian and vegan dishes. This is a great model for healthcare foodservice operators to keep in mind because UCLA is allowing their patients to make their own decisions during mealtime and try something new.
Another way healthcare foodservice operators can increase excitement is by featuring a certain ethnic food day. At the Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg, Pa., the foodservice department hosted an India Day featuring dishes like vindaloo, biryani and a vegetable curry. India Day was a huge hit amongst patients as well as employees at the healthcare facility. By dedicating a certain day to a particular ethnic cuisine, patients have something to look forward to and will be encouraged to try something new.
One major misconception about spicy food is it is all about the heat. Definitely not! Spices do not have to be "hot" and are actually quite versatile for foodservice operators to use in menu development. For example, common Indian spices include cumin, cinnamon, basil, thyme, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and more. These spices are not only used in Indian cooking, but they can be added to common foods like rice, vegetables and soups to add a unique flavor profile.
When it comes to your healthcare foodservice operation, an ever-changing menu for patients is important. Creating different twists on common foods by using spices and offering unique ethnic foods will boost patient morale and excitement.
What spices does your healthcare foodservice operation enjoy using? Comment below or tweet @alluserv and share your ideas!
The Alluserv Team