Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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30 Guide to Foodservice | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Can Sous Vide Boost C-store Sales? The cooking method could enable a better foodservice offer with fewer resources By Angela Hanson A s consumers grow increasingly accept- ing of convenience stores as a food- service destination, so too do their expectations of foodservice quality grow. At the inaugural Convenience Foodservice Exchange, Lance Layman, vice president of business development for food solutions manufacturer SugarCreek, presented one new way c-store operators could boost foodservice quality and sales in an efficient manner: sous vide. Sous vide refers to the method of cooking food slowly in a vacuum- sealed pouch at a low temperature, in order to retain most of the mois- ture and flavor. For c-stores, this would let them offer a fully-cooked meat with less shrink, better yields, increased shelf life, improved nutrition, fewer ingredi- ents, and perfect flavor, color, texture and tenderness, Layman said. By offering a menu of sous vide items, convenience stores could build upon the "4 p.m. Fuel-Up," which refers to food as well as gasoline, he noted. The major- ity of daily c-store shoppers visit the same store, buy prepared food, and are "incredibly loyal." But at this time of day, they don't know what they want for din- ner, he explained. Enter sous vide. Operational benefits of sous vide include ease of execution, simple management of fluctuating traffic periods, and increased speed of order to the customer. Plus, the slow process means cooking can occur even when a chef is not available. Sous vide-appropriate cooking equipment includes convection ovens, micro- waves, Turbo Chefs or thermalizers, which many con- venience stores already have on-hand. Among the economic benefits of sous vide, first and foremost, is better yields — average sous vide shrink is 5 percent, compared to 30 percent for other cooking methods. This method of cooking also conserves energy; can be done with inexpensive cuts of meat (that are made more tender and pleasing to the palate); and uses concentrated seasonings. Overall, sous vide allows foodservice programs to maximize culinary resources while focusing on the end product, according to Layman. CSN Source: SugarCreek

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