9 Ways to Use Frozen Products to Offset a Labor Shortage
Apr 03, 2020
Many delis have had a sizeable portion of their staff reassigned to other parts of the store to help with things like stocking. At the same time, these departments are being asked to produce more grab-and-go offerings and meal kits than ever in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Labor was tight before the virus. Now this. Who’s going to make all these meals and snacks? This is where labor-saving frozen foods can help.
Frozen products come pre-cut (sometimes pre-seasoned and/or pre-roasted too) with simple, heat-and-serve prep. This gives you the freedom to do more with a reduced staff or focus your staff on activities with a better bang for your labor dollar.
Here are the nine best opportunities to drive down your labor costs with frozen products:
- Side dishes. Whether you're serving a simple frozen vegetable as a side or a specialty side-dish item, one trick often used is adding a fresh ingredient or garnish just before serving. This could include anything from a sprinkling of minced chives, cilantro or mint to a few diced tomatoes, or a little lemon zest or juice. The flavors of fresh and frozen vegetables marry perfectly, and a "touch of fresh" goes a long way toward enhancing appearance and appetite appeal.
- Soups, stews and casserole-style dishes. Slow-simmered comfort-food and baked items are more popular than ever, and cost-effective frozen vegetables, such as diced carrots, green beans or one of our Blends are ideal for these kinds of dishes.
- Pastas and sautées. Adding products like IQF roasted corn, asparagus or extra fine green beans to pastas, sautées and stir-fries is an economical way to upscale and add interest.
- Ethnic foods. From Asian foods to Mexican, Italian and Indian, products such as snow peas, baby corn and edamame make ideal additions to noodle or rice bowls, wraps, pizzas, frittatas and more.
- Salads and sandwiches. Add color, texture and merchandising power to fresh salads, sandwiches, and profitable panini with products like RoastWorks®Flame-Roasted Pepper & Onion Blend or guacamole.
- Items that are difficult or dangerous to cut. Many vegetables and fruit are time-consuming and challenging to process with a knife, especially for low-skilled labor. The prep for frozen products is as simple (and safe) as heat and serve.
- Items with a high percentage of trim or spoilage. The yield on many fresh fruits and vegetables is less than 50% after trim and spoilage. That effectively doubles their market price. Add in the cost of labor to process it and it's even more expensive. Products like Simplot Harvest Fresh Avocados™ can save you money and provide consistent quality regardless of season.
- Roasted items. Roasted vegetables and fruits are some of the most difficult items to cook consistently day in, day out, especially across different locations. It's also time-consuming and therefore costly. With Simplot RoastWorks® Roasted Vegetables and Fruits, you get consistent sizing, seasoning and roasting, bag after bag. Just heat and serve.
- Ancient grain blends. Grains are hot right now, but each type of grain in a blend has its own optimal cooking time, making it complex and time-consuming to prep. In frozen blends like Simplot Good Grains™ Ancient Grains & Kale, each element is perfectly cooked on its own then blended with the others, so all you have to do is heat and serve to get perfectly consistent quality every time.
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