Innovation and future looking trends –Q&A with Chef Jill Houk


Are there any exciting innovation opportunities foodservice professionals can harness right now?
Two years of COVID-19 quarantines have made consumers eager to recapture the excitement of foreign travel. This need for novelty has consumers flocking to world-food restaurants, with region-specific variations on familiar cuisines proving particularly popular. That’s why we created our ‘Blend of the Americas’ spice blends, helping the foodservice industry to replicate international flavours with authenticity.

What are ofi’s predictions for the next big trends in foodservice?
With inflation rising around the world, sourcing cost-effective ingredients will become even more critical to a recovering foodservice industry. The plant-based market may be growing, but meat consumption is here to stay. As a result, consumers are searching for cheaper meat options that still taste great. This has raised the profile of unconventional cuts of meat, bones and ‘pluck’ or organ meats. The growing popularity of bone broths is a great example of this trend in action – which is further bolstered by health-conscious consumers recognizing how delicious and nutritious these simple soups can be.
Aesthetic appeal will become even more essential in the world of desserts. To encourage consumers to dine-out in the face of continuing social and economic uncertainty, restaurants need to provide a complete experience that looks great on social media. Decadence and vibrant colours are important elements to this ‘conspicuous consumption’ trend. Hyper-pigmented spices like turmeric, saffron or high ASTA paprika are familiar ingredients chefs can use in a new way – delivering a bright color pop. Premium cocoa powders too, will help pastry chefs create desserts to delight the eyes and the palate.  

What ingredients or culinary solutions will chefs need to capitalize on these emerging trends?
At ofi, we’re always searching for new ways to help chefs intensify flavours and create enticing dishes. Our high-quality herbs and spices can unlock the potential of previously under-appreciated cuts of meat.
Packed with unsaturated fats, fibre, protein and micro-nutrients – our nut flours and protein powders are ideal for capturing the healthy positioning that’s popular right now. What’s more, they do all this while improving the taste and texture of a dish for maximum consumer appeal. These versatile ingredients allow restaurants to develop naturally-gluten free and keto-friendly menu options without compromise. Our almond protein powder for example, helps retain moisture in recipes to avoid the dry, chalky texture that consumers have come to associate with some wheat-free foods.

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