This is the new tagline Unilever Food Solutions now upholds, believing that delicious meals served in and out of home often start from an inspiration.
“It’s happening globally,” says Pinky Laurena, UFS-Philippines managing director. “Our UFS global team has embarked on a survey of sorts to see what people are looking for. They found out that what they look for everyday is an inspiration.”
UFS closely works with food operators, chefs, cooks and even caterers. As one of the world’s top food-service companies, it provides professional ingredients and services to meet the needs of their customers – from market places to five-star hotels, and from school canteens to large food chains.
UFS popular products include Knorr liquid seasonings and powder mixes, Lady’s Choice mayonnaise, Best Foods mayonnaise and Lipton teas, among others. Its comprehensive range of ingredients helps customers save precious preparation time in the kitchen without compromising on flavor or flair, so that they can serve tasty and wholesome meals that keep their guests coming back for more.
“When inspiration everyday brand promise came to be, we found it very appropriate because as we were telling our operators, it doesn’t matter if you don’t use what we demonstrate to you or if you don’t follow exactly our recipe; as long as it sparks some idea then we’ve done our job. It’s good enough for us,” Laurena says.
Drawing on the expertise of its chefs, researchers and nutritionists, UFS also provides insights and inspiration for new ideas in menus and kitchen operations.
“It’s really something about giving ideas, whether they are new dishes or recipes, or a gimmick in the restaurant or catering business,” says Laurena. “We help our partners to really know what they need, how to make their kitchen thriving and efficient, and improve profitability to make their guests come back because of the food they serve. We understand that critical balance between impressing their guests and making a profit. And how to keep their menus and recipes fresh and exciting, as times and tastes change.”
Consumers these days are very demanding. UFS has ideas and tips that can help food operators address the demand, Laurena says.
“We have nutritionists working with us, and a talented team of chefs who know what it is like to plan and deliver nutritious, healthy and profitable menus. We can also offer insights and reports, like the World Menu Report, that can help operators understand more about guests, while at the same time keeping kitchens efficient and thriving.”
UFS shares food trends with operators; it assists them to plan their menu. UFS team also offers tips on how to lay out menus and correctly price their offerings.
The UFS culinary team, led by executive chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano, has been in charge of running the Culinary Academy, where UFS trains sales people to speak the language of cooks and chefs.
The academy also helps train kitchen staff in cooking skills, menu development and costing, as well as safety and sanitation, among other things. The academy “curriculum” is made to fit the specific needs of the operator to make his kitchen more efficient and thriving, improving costs and profitability and inspiring more exciting menus, so that guests keep coming back.
“Again, all our food items presented to our partners are not for home use. All our products are in industrial packs. We have bullion cubes in 16 packs or in one kilo. Our oyster sauces are in gallons,” says Laurena.
To strengthen its stand as reputable partner in the food service, UFS has tapped chef Cyrille Soenen of Restaurant Cicou to be its culinary ambassador.
“Chef Cyrille exemplifies what UFS promises to deliver, inspiration every day,” says Laurena. “His rich experiences in the culinary industry both globally and locally inspires and enables him to concoct unique, masterful dishes that excite yet do not alienate the Filipino palette.”
“He is the epitome of UFS values—humble, low-key, yet warm and very down-to-earth. He always puts diner satisfaction a priority in the dishes that he comes up with. ”
World Menu Report
UFS recently came out with the World Menu Report to guide food operators on what their clients are looking for.
In essence, the World Menu Report shows that consumers are demanding more information about food when eating out.
The study, conducted in developed and developing countries, highlights the growing need for the food service industry to provide increased transparency for consumers about what’s in their food, where it has been sourced from, and how safe it is. It aids diners in making informed choices of the food they eat.
The top three things people wanted to know when eating out was the source of the food, how it was prepared and the nutritional value of the food. Around two-thirds of respondents said that food labels including low fat, low salt and calorie content, would be a welcome addition to the menu.
“We want the report to spark a debate about what needs to change in the industry, and this will be the same in the Philippines,” says Laureana. “The fact that people hold the restaurants and operators primarily responsible for providing them with nutritional information is a big task. We have already started some initiatives in the Philippines which show our commitment to further professionalizing the food service industry through the culinary academy.”