It might be surprising that one of the most popular items being introduced on menus across restaurants of all sizes and formats has existed and been enjoyed for centuries. That’s exactly the level of popularity Falafel is enjoying right now.
At Grecian Delight, we’ve been fans of Falafel before it was cool, though – as far as we’re concerned – Falafel has never been un-cool. And we’ve got some tips, tricks and applications operators can use to utilize this popular plant-forward protein.
Younger Patron Appeal
The Middle East has been enjoying the taste and benefits of Falafel much longer than we have in the States. Falafel has been a regional favorite for at least several hundred years, although there is research to suggest it may have been a delicacy longer than that. The popularity in the U.S., however, rose to new heights more recently as popular international street foods began to capture the attention of a new generation of restaurant patrons.
As is the case with many trends, the younger generations have inspired this new spike in popularity that is catching on with every other age group. It didn’t take long for younger diners looking for bold, new ethnic flavors, and wanting to branch out and experience authentic ethnic favorites to find Falafel. But the benefits of Falafel were soon found by people of all ages, ethnicities and levels of culinary sophistication.
Versatile Plant-Based Protein
Chief among the benefits of menuing Falafel, consumers are eating more plant-based foods. Regardless of whether or not they’re limiting meat consumption, plant-based proteins are a growing trend among diners. This shift in eating patterns holds true even when dining away from home. Foodservice operators and restaurants are already embracing plant-based protein alternatives to meats as well as plant-based proteins that supplement meat-based menus. By doing so, operators add value to their menus, give customers more options for healthier eating and keep their offerings hot on trends. Perception is also key. Many consumers even see plant-based options as more flexible, offering more benefits for them, tasting better and being healthier compared to strictly vegan options.
Yet, perhaps what operators and consumers love the most about Falafel is the other trends that it happens to capitalize on, chief among them, versatility. Falafel can be plated in a variety of dishes from the main protein in an entrée to being enjoyed as a side or snacking item. The versatility even stretches as far as Falafel Dough, which can be used as a breading that can be baked and or fried.
Breakfast, Burgers, Sandwiches & More
Falafel’s versatility extends beyond its ability to serve as an entrée or snack, but can also be menued at any time of the day. As the foodservice world continues to see the benefits of comfort breakfast hashes, Falafel Hash provides operators with an easy way to provide Middle Eastern flare to breakfast menus without having to break the bank with additional ingredients – all while providing a new flavor mixed into a familiar format. The same can be said of Falafel Benedict. By substituting their current meat option with Falafel, operators can create a benedict that not only satisfies adventurous diners looking for their favorite Middle Eastern dish, but can also convert eggs benedict into an easy vegetarian option.
Falafel isn’t just a hero for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus across the board can also see the same boost from Middle Eastern cuisine’s rising popularity with items like the Falafel Burger – another easy twist on an American classic. Or, operators can add a Falafel Pita Pocket to their menu for an easy handheld option.
Dishes like Falafel Buffalo Fritters, Seaside Power Salad and Falafel and Hummus Bowl are easy to menu, and offer a Falafel-infused take on familiar menu items to help operators benefit from this trending ingredient.