Using cheaper cuts of meat as substitute ingredients is a trend that’s been around for several years. Since the financial crisis over 10 years ago, operators have been looking to swap out more expensive cuts for cheaper alternatives. The upside, of course, is that financially, you are going to save money. On the downside, cheaper cuts can often be tougher and require longer cooking, however they do perform on flavour and taste.
But undeniably, it’s a trend that’s gathering pace once again with some cheaper cuts now becoming trendier menu items - think beef shin, pork belly, ham hock and lamb shank. So, the opportunity for margin gain is increasing and it could in fact be higher than ever.
Cuts such as the chump of a pig and the shin of a cow can be turned into an array of tasty dishes; if cooked with patience. Slow cooking almost any inexpensive meat will help it to tenderise and release its flavour; this is where slow cookers and crock pots become essential. Chefs are quick to state that the route to success with these types of cuts is to cook them either fast and furious, or slow and gentle.
Many restaurants are opening their arms to the idea of using cheaper cuts, especially as food experts continue to spread the word. As well as re-engineering menus with cheaper cuts, operators are now looking to cheaper cuts of meat in the fight against food waste, whilst saving themselves some money too.
Apps like ‘Too Good to Go’ are giving operators the ability to price food to be bought by consumers that would otherwise be thrown away. By entering your location into the app, you will be notified when any food establishment local to you has food to offer. You then book your slot and collect a bag, with only the knowledge of what the establishment serves typically. This is an innovative and creative way of not only saving food waste, but also introducing people to trying different types of food.
As a leading food procurement organisation, we are always on the lookout for innovative ideas to help save money, retain quality, and reduce our impact on the environment. And if fresh, nutritious, flavourful meals can be created with cheaper cuts of meat, it becomes less about cheaper cuts of meat and much more about the benefits to the world.
For more information on how we can support your food procurement, contact us here.