Diner

Menus made from quality and premium ingredients pulling in more diners

15:04 SGT October 16, 2017
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As diners become more ingredient-aware, F&B establishments are tweaking their menus to tempt palates with dishes and drinks flavoured and garnished with premium and authentic ingredients.

Global consumers want more transparency in ingredients, according to a Nielsen insight. Artificial is out, the firm’s recent study reveals, with global respondents saying they avoid foods with long lists of ingredients.

“Informed and savvy consumers are demanding more from the foods they eat, and some are prioritizing ingredients over brands,” says Andrew Mandzy, director of Strategic Health and Wellness Insights, Nielsen. “To many consumers, simple is beautiful, and foods with a short list of recognizable ingredients resonate strongly.

Findings from Nielsen also reveal that when it comes to ingredient trends, a back-to-basics mindset, focused on simple ingredients and fewer artificial or processed foods, is a priority for most global respondents.

As compared to five years ago, 40% of Singaporeans have spent more on groceries, 38% on dining out, and 35% on travel, research says. In fact, better quality meats and seafood is one of the top things on the list of products Singaporeans do not mind spending more for.

Having more disposable incomes also increased demands for food products containing premium ingredients. Another Nielsen study discloses that with more money in their pockets, many consumers in Singapore, for example, are trading up for products and services they could not previously afford.

As compared to five years ago, 40% of Singaporeans have spent more on groceries, 38% on dining out, and 35% on travel, research says. In fact, better quality meats and seafood is one of the top things on the list of products Singaporeans do not mind spending more for.

One Singapore F&B establishment known for its nutritiously prepared food sourced from premium and organic ingredients is Cedele. Initially started as an artisan bakery in 1997, Cedele now has 30 outlets across the republic, comprising bakery cafés, all-day dining service restaurants and bakery kitchens. The company began expanding to other shores in 2013 by opening outlets in Hong Kong.

Caroline Wong, brand lead and business development for Cedele, tells Foodbiz Asia that the company has always been focused on offering healthy food with its Eat Well Be Well philosophy — stemming from founder Yeap Cheng Guat’s belief that eating well is essential to one’s well-being.

Wong relates that Cedele’s menu took a healthy turn back in the early 2000 when Yeap began looking for a diabetic-friendly ingredient to sweeten her mother’s afternoon tea pastries. The founder’s research led her to unrefined sugar, which her sweet-toothed mother approved without spiking her blood sugar levels.

Unrefined sugar was not yet in demand nor was there any trend on unrefined sugar for health benefits. Nevertheless, because of founder Yeap Cheng Guat’s discovery, unrefined sugar became Cedele’s sweetening choice for all its baked goods and other dishes.

At that time, unrefined sugar was not yet in demand nor was there any trend on unrefined sugar for health benefits. Nevertheless, because of Yeap’s discovery, unrefined sugar became the establishment’s sweetening choice for all its baked goods and other dishes.

Eventually, Cedele switched to organic unrefined sugar. In fact, whenever they can, Cedele’s kitchen churns out food and baked goods using organic ingredients.

“Cedele will go as far as using only organic ingredients that are sustainable, because there are organic practices that are not sustainable,” Wong says.

“We import our own sugar so it’s organic and unrefined. We never use artificial trans fat. You will never see shortening or vegetable oil in our products; we only use olive oil, butter and coconut oil.”

There are also no premixes and no preservatives on the menu, Wong maintains.
For cakes, which are made from scratch without preservatives, Cedele creates them denser and less fluffy.

“When we did cakes, we did not do the local fluffy, airy cakes. We did it dense and nice like our carrot cakes,” Wong says. “You get the ‘cake’ with a nice lather of cream cheese, no compromise.”

When Cedele started offering cakes more than 10 years ago, Wong recalls people were attracted to the novelty of eating cakes made from premium and authentic ingredients.
However, this strategy was not done to pursue or start a trend, but to have a more sustainable marketing plan, she explains.

“We were in it for the long haul,” Wong declares.

From day one, she asserts, it was always about dishes and baked products that are consistently nutritious, appetising and sustainable five to 10 years down the road.
“This philosophy made a difference in the trajectory of the company,” Wong concludes.