New products make the grade at Supplier Innovation Live!
Leading industry chefs, innovative product launches, blind food tastings and prestigious stamps of approval. Here’s what happened at the very first Supplier Innovation Live!
At the end of 2022, a brand new event was launched to offer a solution to those chefs and food development directors who are keen to delight their customers with quality new products, but don’t always have the capacity to seek them out.
Supplier Innovation Live! saw 16 industry-leading operators head to Bidfood’s Innovation Centre in November, where they put 15 original product launches to the test in an anonymous tasting session.
Beyond potential stocking opportunities, the judges were also there to recognise those suppliers who are going the extra mile in developing great new products, awarding each dish with a Supplier Innovation Live! Bronze, Silver or Gold grading.
Judges at Supplier Innovation Live! included Honest Burgers, Compass Group and wagamama
How did the day work?
Dishes were presented blindly to the judging panel, so they began the process purely on the product information given to them on the day. All 16 judges remained in a closed-off room within Bidfood’s Innovation Centre, as suppliers took it in turns to cook in adjacent kitchens throughout the event. Each dish contained a hero product, which was what the judges were assessing – no identifying attributes were visible to give away which supplier had produced it. Judges then scored each product based on quality, flavour profile, popularity among chefs, versatility, and stocking potential. These intricate scores and feedback notes were the core foundations to each product’s Gold, Silver or Bronze grading, giving each supplier a stamp of approval from some of the best in business.
“We’re are incredibly proud to work with Pub & Bar magazine on Supplier Innovation Live! 2022, which is a great way of showcasing the creative and amazing innovation that customers are looking for,” says Gail Bridgeman, head of campaigns and activation at Bidfood UK, the event’s headline partner. “We were bowled over with the high standards of quality that the entries demonstrated, a reason to be confident that the pub sector can stay ahead of the curve and really wow consumers, inspiring them to keep coming through the door, even in these difficult trading conditions.”
Whether you’re a chef or supplier, don’t worry if you missed out this year – Supplier Innovation Live! will be returning in 2023. If you’re interested in getting involved, email [email protected]
So, what was tasted and how did it perform?
Supplier: Essential Cuisine
Product Innovation: Signature Veal Stock Reduction Jus
Dish served: Steak, glazed cheek, shiitake mushroom purée, Asahi-braised onion
What the judges were told: The main part of this dish is the jus, which pulls all of the incredible flavours together. This dish was chosen to showcase the versatility and true authenticity of this ingredient in a unique way.
What the judges said: “Lovely sticky feeling, which is often missing from bought-in stocks and jus products. Good depth too.” Alice Bowyer, Liberation Group
Supplier: Farm Frites
Product Innovation: Farm Frites Hash Cup
Dish served: Cup-stomise Your Menu
What the judges were told: A versatile hash brown with its own cup built in. Vegan and gluten-free – fast to cook and fantastic hot holding qualities. Served in a vegetarian burger – with a selection of sauces to get creative. The sauce stays in the cup hole so you get flavour with every bite.
What the judges said: “Nice colour, rich, golden and crisp. It’s a nice, firm sauce vehicle with gluten-free 'tick’.” Adam Layton, Honest Burgers
The Farm Frites Hash Cup
Supplier: Impossible Foods
Product Innovation: Impossible ‘Chicken’ Fillets™ Made From Plants
Dish served: The Impossible Chicken Fillet Sandwich
What the judges were told: A succulent plant-based breaded 'chicken' fillet served with fried brussels sprout slaw, Fresno Chili Gastrique, coriander, mint, chutney, served within a toasted brioche bun.
What the judges said: “The meat-free chicken fillet is visually good with neat breading. I can see a use depending on cost, suitable for university market.” Peter Joyner, Elior
Supplier: Santa Maria
Product Innovation: Santa Maria Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Dish served: Dirty Double Bacon Cheeseburger with Loaded Fries
What the judges were told: Two succulent beef steak burgers, topped with crispy smoked bacon rashers, pickled red onion, a drizzle of bourbon BBQ sauce and then smothered in our decadent and dirty Cheddar Cheese Sauce. All served in a lightly toasted brioche bun, accompanied by a portion of Loaded Steakhouse and Cheese Sauce-topped fries.
What the judges said: “The sauce coated the bun well and could also work for cheese topping for nacho tacos.” Ben Smitton, CH&Co
Supplier: Sun Valley Rice
Product Innovation: Californian Calrose Medium Grain Rice
Dish served: Chicken Katsu Curry Rice Burgers
What the judges were told: A new dimension in burger recipes! Crispy panko-breaded chicken and melted cheddar cheese are topped with Japan's most popular curry sauce and sandwiched between flavoured rice burgers made with Calrose rice.
What the judges said: “Good texture to rice and wasn’t dry. It’s tasty and sticks together well.” Adam Layton, Honest Burgers
Supplier: Alternative Foods
Product Innovation: Pre-Scrambled OGGS
Dish served: Plant-Based Brunch
What the judges were told: A modern take on a breakfast classic, giving customers a low carbon, healthy option to start their day. The plant egg provides 60% less CO2e than other eggs, 48% less saturated fats and removes an allergy from the menu.
What the judges said: “A great egg substitute with a good texture. It worked well with the dish.” Ryan Holmes, Compass Group
The Pre-Scrambled OGGS wrap
Supplier: Macphie Ltd
Product Innovation: fru-ti o.t.t® Mango & Passionfruit dessert topping
Dish served: Mango & Passionfruit Potted Dessert
What the judges were told: If it is summer in a dessert you are looking for, then look no further than our Mango & Passionfruit potted dessert. Designed to provide a fresh burst of colour and flavour at the end of a meal, perfect no matter how many you are catering for.
What the judges said: “Great all around flavour profile. The coulis is well balanced and has great flavour.” Ken Umasanthiram, Brakspear’s Honeycomb Houses
Supplier: Mission Foods
Product Innovation: Mission Chocolate Flavoured Tortilla
Dish served: Chocolate’s Not Just For Dessert
What the judges were told: Chocolate Chilli Beef ‘Wrap’ioli served with sour cream, guacamole and zingy red cabbage slaw. Followed by a Chocolate ‘Torti’noli filled with a white chocolate, macadamia nut and blueberry ganache, with either end dipped in crushed caramelised macadamia nuts.
What the judges said: “Works well as a dessert. I would work with it at NPD to see what else can be done.” Andy Briggs, Punch Pubs
Product Innovation: Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
Dish served: Teriyaki Chicken Burger
What the judges were told: Burgers remain one of the most popular food choices in restaurants and this recipe looks at making a premium version with a Japanese twist. This Teriyaki chicken burger with tomato slice, lettuce and mayo is accompanied with tasty Lotus roots chips, simple soya sauce and garlic broccoli, and beetroot salad.
What the judges said: “Good flavour, a real crowd pleaser. Nice colour and worked well with the chicken.” Andrew Scott, Wadworth
Product Innovation: THIS™ Isn't Pork Sausages
Dish served: Sausage and Mashed Potato
What the judges were told: This dish shows that plant-based meat can be just as good as the real thing. The meat-free sausages are the centre plate item, and match (if not beat) the juiciness and flavour of a real pork sausage. Served alongside greens and mashed potato, the dish shows that plant-based products are approachable and fuss-free, but have the opportunity to be elevated into modern twists on comfort classics suitable in any setting, from convenience foodservice to high end dining.
What the judges said: “A really good plant-based sausage with nice flavours. I could easily use this.” Ryan Holmes, Compass Group
Supplier: Ajinomoto Foods
Product Innovation: Miso Ramen
Dish served: Turmeric Flavoured Cooked Noodles
What the judges were told: A vegetarian/vegan Miso Ramen for foodservice – a frozen product, cook straight from frozen, used as a main course. A Japanese noodle soup with turmeric-flavoured noodles, a rich flavoured miso paste broth mix and a selection of vegetables. Often topped with other ingredients like protein or a boiled egg.
What the judges said: “A very good, strong noodle dish that’s also vegan.” Karl Thompson, wagamama
Supplier: Creative Foods
Product Innovation: Sous Vide Lemon and Herb Half Chicken
Dish served: Lemon and Herb Spiced Half Chicken
What the judges were told: A lemon and herb spiced half chicken dish served with its natural cooking jus, chicken fat mash, buttered peas and charred corn. It is presented showcasing the different cuts, demonstrating its flexibility with the chicken wings, legs, drumsticks and breast, as well as using the natural juices for the sauce, derived from the delicate, precise sous vide cooking process.
What the judges said: “Good flavour, nice marinade, juicy chicken. The best dish so far.” Andrew Scott, Wadworth
Sous Vide Lemon and Herb Half Chicken from Creative Foods
Product Innovation: Planted
Dish served: Today, Tomorrow & Next Year
What the judges were told: We are creating a mini showcase of our all-natural, clean label meat alternatives. Made from pea protein, our products are versatile, delicious, meaty and always free from anything artificial. Just like animal meat, we only use real ingredients like herbs and spices to flavour our foods, and unlike other meat alternatives, we leave the E numbers and methylcellulose out.
What the judges said: “Very close to the meat product, with great textures, especially the pulled and whole pieces.” David Mulcahy, Sodexo
Supplier: Lee Kum Kee
Product Innovation: Chinese Style Honey BBQ Marinade (Char Siu Sauce)
Dish served: Ying Yang Beef Short Ribs
What the judges were told: The Ying Yang Beef Short Ribs have been cooked in the traditional style with BBQ sauce to provide two different textures in the same dish through grilling and stir frying. The honey sweet and savoury BBQ sauce used in the marinating and coating of the beef is what makes the meat succulent and melt in your mouth. The sauce is versatile and goes well not just with beef but with other protein like pork, chicken, paneer and tofu.
What the judges said: “Good flavour and something that I would use and recommend.” Daryll Young, BM
Supplier: Rich Products
Product Innovation: Plant Based Whipping Crème
Dish served: Decadent Dark Choc & Pistachio Vegan Tart
What the judges were told: To meet the indulgence trend, we present a rich and delicious vegan Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Tart, with a crisp pastry, smooth and velvety ganache, and creamy pistachio crème, topped with a dusting of cocoa and pistachio praline. Using the dairy alternative whipping crème on the top is quick to whip, holds aeration extremely well and can be frozen after whipping, ready to defrost before service.
What the judges said: “Held well with a good taste consistency. Versatility means it can be used for baking or whipping. Interesting product that tastes better than most I have tried.” Ben Smitton, CH&Co
The Supplier Innovation Live! judging panel
Adam Layton, Honest Burgers; Alice Bowyer, Liberation Group; Andrew Scott, Wadworth; Andy Briggs, Punch Pubs; Ben Smitton, CH&Co; Daryll Young, BM; David Mulcahy, Sodexo; Genna Ash-Brown, Dine Out Magazine; Karl Thompson, wagamama; Ken Umasanthiram, Brakspear's Honeycomb Houses; Martin Eshelby, Bidfood; Paul Fletcher, Whitbread; Peter Joyner, Elior; Piran Dewey, Anglian Country Inns; Ryan Holmes, Compass Group; Tristan O'Hana, Pub & Bar Magazine.