The UK dairy co-operative has been developing foods to tap into the growing foodservice sector. It says that, as the economy improves and more people spend on eating out, consumers also want to see healthy options on the menu.
The co-operative launched its quark in April 2013, positioning it as a ‘healthy replacement’ for fatty cream cheese or double cream, as well as being high in protein and low in fat, salt, and sugar.
The deal with Brakes, announced this week, means its quark will be available to thousands of major customers including restaurants, hotels, caterers and chains in the UK.
Products developed for growing foodservice sector
“With our British quark being relatively new to the marketplace, this is the first major foodservice listing for the product in the UK,” said David Young, marketing director, First Milk.
“To facilitate our listing with Brakes, we developed larger 2kg catering tubs for quark, having previously only been available in individual 250g pots.”
The eating out of home UK foodservice market was estimated at £79.7bn ($129bn) in 2013, and this is expected to grow to £91bn ($147bn) in 2017, according to research consultancy Allegra Strategies.
The company already has foodservice supply contracts in place for products including crème fraiche, soft cheese and mascarpone.
Restaurants recognise healthy eating trends
“As the economy improves and consumers regain confidence and increase their spending on eating and drinking out, coffee shops and casual dining are particularly well-placed to benefit,” Young said.
“Positive nutrition is just as relevant to the foodservice sector as it is to the multiple grocery sector. As a healthy replacement for fatty cream cheeses and double creams, Lake District quark delivers to many drivers of consumer growth; protein; naturally healthy; weight management; and ‘Dairy 2.0 - the rebirth of dairy nutrition’
“As more and more consumers tap into these healthy eating trends; restaurants, hotels and pubs are recognising the demand for dining-out options that are low in fat and calories.”
Quark is attractive to chefs and caterers because it can make recipes healthier and more nutritious, as the fat-free ingredient is high in protein and low in sugar, Young said. The product is spoonable and easy to use in cooking, mixing and baking.
“We recently presented Quark directly to Brakes’ 400 account managers at their October sales conference. They were very enthusiastic about the health and nutritional benefits of Quark, as well as its versatility across sweet and savoury recipes for chefs and caterers.”
“The fact it is a British produced product is a major bonus too - especially as kitchens strive to buy local and display their support of farmers here in the UK.”
First Milk launched a range of cooking sauces based on quark this summer, which come in tikka; garlic and herb; and tomato and basil flavours.