During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have noted significant shifts in demand for our products, which we supply to the foodservice sector under under our popular Lähde brand. Here, our joint MD, Tasneem Alonzo, shares her insights.
“We have experienced disruptions to the supply chain as logistics and shipping have both been affected by the ongoing Coronavirus situation. There have been shortages of products from China such as garlic, ginger and sunflower seeds, and India has had challenges with exporting which has affected dried onion and chilli, as well as rice from both regions, but this is stabilising now and we are working hard to fulfil orders with our customers and to keep prices stable.
“Many foodservice outlets had to adapt quickly to offer delivery and takeaway services, and now with the re-opening of the dining out sector, we’re seeing a fast-paced, adapted industry with more sales going through that channel both for eat-in and take-out.
“As we expected, many outlets have reduced their menu offerings and rationalised the quantity of dishes on offer to focus on best-selling lines and popular dishes that are likely to be in demand by consumers. As a result, many of our foodservice and catering customers have reduced or cancelled orders for items such as pine nuts and almonds, and secured more supplies of store cupboard essentials such as flours, rice, lentils and kidney beans, as well as black pepper, popular spices and dried herbs such as coriander, cumin, paprika and oregano. More recently, we’ve experienced increases in demand for some of our herb and spice blends such as curry powders, BBQ marinades, herb blends for pies and pasties, and more unusual seasonings such as Ras El Hanout, Za’atar, and Harissa.
“Chefs and caterers would be wise to experiment with exotic seasonings as the nation gears up for a socially distanced summer season. Many may feel more experimental and want to try foods from far-flung destinations, as travel is still restricted, so offering well-made dishes from afar is a great way to attract new customers and entice them to your establishment for dining in or takeaway.
“Consumers are more discerning in their choices than ever before so to offer an unusual dish can help to drive repeat visits and orders.
Plant-based is still going strong
It’s important to offer free-from, vegetarian, and vegan alternatives on menus to cater to this growing sector.
“Meat-free food is still popular with consumers experimenting and trying out new ingredients and flavour combinations. Our herbs, spices, seasonings and blends can help create new plant-based and meat-free products and open up new opportunities for chefs and caterers. Foods such as cauliflower steak, halloumi, seitan, sausages and plant-based burgers are in high demand so it’s key to ensure dishes are hitting all the key notes in terms of flavour, texture, aroma, visual appeal and overall satisfaction.
“We continue to fulfil our orders and work with our supplier network to ensure manageable, consistent stock levels. If we cannot get hold of certain ingredients from one country, we have contacts and reliable suppliers in other regions who we will work with to meet our customer requirements. This is an exciting time for the foodservice sector and we all need to be agile, flexible and understanding as we manage new consumer preferences and adapt to an ever-changing environment.
“In these uncertain times, foodservice companies and dining outlets must balance customer demand and preferences with manageable operations and work with suppliers to coordinate this effectively. We’re open to working with new customers and outlets that have changed their business model and menu to develop new dishes.
Our herbs, spices and blends are available under the Lähde foodservice brand to operators, dining outlets, caterers and chefs now. Contact us for more details or to place your order.