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Prepped Produce Proves Popular as Chefs Combat Staff Shortages

Fresh Direct, the UK's leading supplier of fresh produce to the foodservice sector, has reported a surge of over 10% in sales of prepared produce over the past year.

This growth is attributed to chefs increasingly seeking time-saving solutions in the face of ongoing staff shortages.

The rapidly expanding pre-prepared sector is helping to alleviate some of the challenges posed by staff shortages. It encompasses a wide array of products that can be sliced, diced, shredded, quartered, or cut into various sizes and shapes, catering to diverse dishes and menus.

Innovation is a key driver of this market's growth. Fresh Direct, for instance, has introduced a range of value-added products, including foraged mushroom meat. This launch was in response to the demand for vegan products that are not ultra-processed, providing chefs with a clean-label, vegan option.

Timesaving is another crucial factor, leading to the introduction of Freshlock products from Barfoots, a growing partner. These include baked potato and sweetcorn, cooked using gentle pasteurisation, which saves time in the kitchen as they are precut and only require warming in the oven.

Furthermore, Fresh Direct has addressed the rising demand for ready-to-eat prepared lines by launching shredded white cabbage, red cabbage, and Savoy, all washed and ready for slaws and salads. New vegetable mixes, such as roast veg mix and creative slaws like the rainbow slaw, have also been introduced.

Paul Nieduszynski, CEO of Sysco GB, emphasized the company's commitment to supporting chefs: "Supporting chefs is at the heart of what we do, so providing a range of products that make back-of-house prep more efficient fits right into that."

He added, "With staff shortages still a major issue across the foodservice industry, the demand for prepped products is growing fast. We continue to innovate to provide the products that make a real difference to chefs, prepared to a high specification and supporting chefs where and when they need it most. In many cases, we’ve been able to work with customers to develop bespoke products for them.”


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