Inside… McCain Foodservice

18/08/2016 - 07:39
In Cost Sector Catering’s series of Q&As with suppliers, we talk to Jo Holborn, marketing and category controller at McCain Foodservice.

Cost Sector Catering: What have been your main challenges in the cost sector?

Jo Holborn: There are three clear areas where our customers ask for our support. With their customers – pupils, patients, staff and visitors – expectations need to be met on a consistent basis, and every meal needs to be as good as it can be. With menus, they need access to a wide range of quality products that can help offer more variety and make menus stand out. In kitchens, cooks and catering managers are asking for great-quality ingredients that help them to work more smartly and efficiently.

We work closely with our customers, and to provide solutions to the common challenges they are facing, we have relaunched our ranges with a clear focus on customers, the menus and kitchen solutions.

What are your bestsellers in the cost sector?

The McCain Chefs Solutions range, which focuses on natural and quality ingredients that free up time and resource in the kitchen, is really popular. The range includes our Simply products, which are just potatoes, chopped, blanched and quick-frozen ready to be used as an ingredient, topping or side.

Any particular menu trends influencing your NPD programme?

Although only 1% of the population have coeliac disease, around 10% of the population are actively looking to remove gluten or reduce it, so it’s vital that caterers can offer great-tasting gluten-free menus, particularly favourites such as chips. It’s also worth remembering that the people seeking gluten-free options will rarely be eating alone, so there is an impact on those they eat with too.

To support caterers, we have redeveloped and relaunched McCain Menu Signatures traditional chips to make them gluten-free, giving caterers a product that meets their needs and supports due-diligence procedures. What’s more important is that our research among operators confirmed they perform and taste better as well, whether they are fried or oven-baked. Made with the very best of the British potato crop, they also taste fantastic even when held for long periods, which is particularly important for hospitals and schools.

Are you working on any specific initiatives/partnerships relevant to operators or organisations?

We are a long-term partner of LACA, HCA and TUCO, and we continue to support our customers at head office and in busy kitchens, enabling them to serve food that is nutritious and enjoyed by students, patients, staff and visitors.

We have also just crowned the winner of this year’s One Pot Meal competition, which challenges school cooks nationwide to create a one-pot recipe using the McCain Chefs Solutions Simply range. Last year’s winner, Beverley Paterson, held on to her crown, creating a gnocchi ‘bac’ and cheese dish, an exciting new twist on mac and cheese. She will be joining us at the LACA exhibition in July to share her winning dish. We will also be sampling new Menu Signatures traditional chips, other one-pot meal dishes from the competition, and topped wedges inspired by world food and casual dining trends.

What are your aspirations for the next 12 months?

A great reputation is built upon great dishes, delivered in every service, day in and day out; it’s also about providing a memorable experience.

Our three new ranges are ready to help operators create real talking points and build reputations for great food by supporting them where they need it, with the customer, menu and kitchen efficiencies. It is these talking points that will spread the word about how well operators serve the food their customers love – and it is these talking points that I hope will help operators to realise the potential of potato over the next 12 months and beyond.

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