State of the Industry

State of the Industry: Dominating the Plate

Today’s snacks, apps and side dishes dominate the plate thanks to on-trend flavors and creative uses.

July 11, 2013
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Behind every delicious entrée is an even better-tasting side dish. Whether it’s exercising extraordinary taste or rescuing consumers from mundane menu options, refrigerated and frozen food processors know just what to develop that dominates the plate.

Sweet in the all the right spots. McCain Foods USA, Lisle, Ill., pushed all the right buttons with its newest release—Sweet Potato Buttons. Sold under the Harvest Splendor brand, these made-to-order, bite-sized buttons are crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside.

McCain Foods also introduced Brew City Mac ‘N Jack Brew Bitesmade with the company’s signature craft-brewed American Pale beer batter surrounding the blend of spicy Pepper Jack cheese, real bacon and tender elbow macaroni noodles.

Farm-fresh and ready to order. Tampa Maid Foods, Inc., Lakeland, Fla., launched a new Harvest Creations brand that includes Dipt’n Dusted Fried Green Tomatoes (thick slices of fresh, tart green tomatoes tossed in the company’s Dipt’n Dusted seasoned flour and cornmeal blend and fried to create a crispy outer layer and firm but juicy inside), Dipt’n Dusted Jalapeño Chips (zesty jalapeño slices that are pickled and tossed in a Dipt’n Dusted coating system), Dipt’n Dusted Banana Peppers (individually-quick frozen banana peppers gently tossed in a Dipt’n Dusted coating system to give a hint of heat to salads, sandwiches, pizza and more), Dipt’n Dusted Hot Red & Green Cherry Peppers (cherry peppers gently tossed in a Dipt’n Dusted coating system, providing a back-of-the-house appearance and taste), Dipt’n Dusted Red & Green Jalapeño Slivers (colorful jalapeño peppers that are lightly seasoned, tossed with a Dipt’n Dusted coating system and perfectly sized for dipping or for add-ons to appetizers or entrées), Dipt’n Dusted Green Beans (fresh, whole green beans that are lightly seasoned and tossed in a Dipt’n Dusted coating system), Dipt’n Dusted Onion and Red Jalapeño Slices (a combination of tender onions and mild jalapeño peppers served up in hearty slices that are perfect for dipping) and Flour Coated and Panko Breaded Pickles. The Flour Coated variety consists of premium crinkle-cut dill pickles, sliced and lightly coated in a Dipt’n Dusted coating system of seasoned flour and a touch of cornmeal, while the Panko Breaded Pickle Chips feature premium crinkle-cut dill pickles, sliced and lightly coated in a blend of special batter and Panko breadcrumbs.

Heroic add-ons. Mediterranean Brands, Inc., Glenview, Ill., added Black Bean and Corn Fritters to its menu offerings. These all-natural fritters are made from the highest-quality beans, vegetables and spices, and can be served as a salad topper, sandwich filler, side dish, appetizer or even the main event. They fry from frozen in just under four minutes. 

Heroes of health. Taylor Farms Retail, Salinas, Calif., introduced an Italian chopped salad kit with salami and cheese. The package includes romaine lettuce, broccoli, red cabbage, celery, an Italian cheese blend, green onions, salami and parsley.

Reser’s Fine Foods, Beaverton, Ore., introduced a new line of artisan salads for behind-the-glass deli cases. The Stonemill Kitchens artisan salads feature quinoa, bulgur, curry, fresh herbs, agave, nuts, ginger and tabouli and provide variety without the cost of labor to prepare in-house. They come in Traditional Tabouli, Mandarin Wheatberry, Sonoma Style Chicken, Low Fat Agave Roasted Almond Chicken, Cranberry Cashew Tuna, Pesto Orzo Feta, Caprese (pictured) and Thai Noodle deli salad varieties.

Dominating the plate is hard to do if it’s the same old, run-of-the-mill items. Thankfully today’s snacks, appetizers and side dishes provide a little something more powerful.

To learn more about these and other new snacks, appetizers and side dishes, go to

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