Through Cutting Edge Solutions (CES), Sysco has been introducing versatile products to our customers on an exclusive basis since 2015. “CES is Sysco’s platform to launch new, innovative products in foodservice,” says Angela Flenoy, Director of Innovation and Strategy. Flenoy and the cross-functional CES team assess hundreds of potential products, using five essential criteria to determine whether an item makes the grade.
1. Better for You: Do the ingredients add up in terms of health and wellness? Patrons are increasingly interested in wholesome, clean-label menu items, and we want to provide that. Our Path of Life Vegetable Confetti, for example, is a great plant-based alternative to a starch side dish.
2. Labor-Saving: Does it save time and labor in the kitchen? With the current labor shortage in the restaurant industry, this is absolutely critical. CES’s thaw-and-bake pizza crusts, as well as many of our other products, are prime examples of labor-savers.
3. On-Trend: Is it new and different—something consumers are actively seeking? Is the flavor trending, such as with our new Sysco Classic Brown Butter Cakes? Or perhaps the concept is blowing up, like the new vegan pizza crust. There must be something new and exciting about each product.
4. Versatile: Can it be used for more than one menu application? The Path of Life Vegetable Confetti can be used as a foundation for a main-dish protein, as a side dish or even as a garnish. The Tyson® Chicken Twists make a great shareable snack or main dish.
5. Profitable: Is the margin attractive, and will it add to the operator’s bottom line? In a competitive market, it is crucial to find ways to save money while maintaining quality, and these items do just that.
After gauging the strengths of each product against the criteria, Flenoy and her team choose 6–10 items to showcase twice a year, in spring and fall. When selecting the products, the team makes sure to assemble the right mix, as each item is stocked in all 72 operating companies in the U.S. and sold only through Sysco for one year.
“With each launch, we strive to be our customers’ most valued and trusted business partner by bringing them leading on-trend solutions that they won’t find anywhere else,” says Flenoy.
When CES panel members sampled the new Sysco Simply Cauliflower Pizza Crust, they knew it was something different. There are several cauliflower crusts on the market, according to Flenoy, but “the amazing taste and genuine rise of the crust made this one unique.” It browns extremely well, too, whether in a pizza oven or a traditional restaurant oven, making it difficult to distinguish from a wheat-based crust.
Here, it is topped with fresh broccolini, slices of Beyond Meat® Beyond Sausage® and vibrant pesto cream. The bright-green cream can be easily prepared by mixing Arrezzio Basil Pesto with another new CES standout: Anchor Shelf Stable Cooking Cream. The cream saves time in the kitchen because it won’t break and is already reduced.
Fish Tacos With a Twist
As the cost of tilapia and cod has increased, operators are looking for other whitefish options. With the new CES product Portico Classic Wild Alaska Pollock Bites, you get a delicious whitefish taste with thaw-and-serve ease and practicality. We’ve put the berr-battered flavor of fish bites in a taco, topped with a spicy mango dressing. Then we’ve used Frank’s RedHot® Dry Seasoning to spice up our french fries. Frank’s is the number one hot sauce in the country; now you can get that same taste in a powder consistency to use for dry rubs and flavorings of all kinds.