Elevating Comfort Food: Give Your Customers What They Want

Consumers today are constantly looking for the next big thing.

They are looking for new technologies, new experiences and new ways to explore flavor. But while millennials are pushing forward in this age of exploration, a majority of customers are exploring their palates in more modest ways.

Instead of searching for cricket flour or “bleeding” vegan burgers, most consumers are simply looking to inject some excitement into their current staples. For example, truffles.

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Truffles and truffle oil have captivated the appetites of people for more than a thousand years. In the mid-1800’s over 2,000 tons of truffles appeared throughout Europe. But after World War I, much of the rural lands were destroyed and the growth of truffles plummeted. By the 1960’s we were producing less than 400 tons.

Still a rare delicacy, in recent years truffles have been reserved for the wealthy. Today, truffles can set an operator back over $1500 per pound, eating up budgets.

But consumers today are craving the elegance associated with the gourmet ingredient. They are looking for ways to experience the truffle taste without having to pay the exorbitant truffle price, which is putting pressure on operators.

Working the flavor into your menu is easier than you’d think. In response to consumer demands, menu incidence of truffles has increased 4.2% over just the last year. Fast casuals have taken on the ingredient most heavily with a 10% increase in use in the segment. Fine dining and quick service establishments both report increases in use between 5 and 7 percent.

So how can you begin working the item quickly and easily into your menu?

Kicking up Comfort Food

The potato may be the most versatile vegetable available. Mashed, hashed and crinkle-cut, all forms of the starchy tuber are delicious and have held their popularity for decades. While it seems there will never be a shortage of inventive formats for the potato, the flavor profile of potatoes seem to have stayed largely unchanged.

Potatoes pair well with delicious, salty fats like butter and cheese or fried in oil. Truffles, on the other hand, provide an earthy, umami flavor not typically experienced with traditional fats.

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Enter Idahoan. Idahoan’s products are made with 100% real potatoes every time, dehydrated using an innovative process that better preserves the natural potato taste and texture. By incorporating real black truffle, Idahoan has created a flavor combination that provides a light yet exquisite taste experience, giving customers, and operators, exactly what they’ve been searching for. And it’s paying off.

Growth in the Spud Segment

The total growth across the industry for the mashed potato category is +2.1% year-over-year according to a Technomic Volumetric Assessment of the Foodservice Potato Market published in December of 2017. Idahoan Foodservice’s mashed potato growth is +3.5% year-over-year, giving the brand a noticeable step up.

The choice of Black Truffle is important: Black truffles deliver a delicate, more refined flavored than that of white truffles, which makes them a perfect complement to the delightfully pleasing taste of Idahoan mashed potatoes.

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And don’t let the “mashed” format box you in. Corporate Chef for the brand, David Macfarlane recommends creatively using the flakes in more than one way: “Use [the prepared mashed potatoes] as a base for a delicious potato croquette and for dynamite results, remember to use our golden potato crusting in place of breadcrumbs!”