HOW TO CATER FOR DIABETIC CUSTOMERS

It’s Diabetes Week 2020 and despite the prevailing pandemic topmost on everyone’s mind, with food establishments expected to reopen in some form in the near future, it’s a great opportunity to factor in the needs of diabetics and those on a low-sugar diet.

For your diners, eating out should be nothing short of a pleasurable experience, regardless of their food aversions, restrictions or intolerances. 

According to Diabetes UK, the number of people with the condition is estimated at 4 million (6% of the population) – and that’s in the United Kingdom alone. 

Meanwhile, the Restaurant Business Online highlights reasons why reducing sugar content makes sense. The health risks associated with a high-sugar diet are just one reason to cut back during cooking, with consumer desire for low-sucrose options being another. 

Restaurants are encouraged to partner with food manufacturers who can offer or develop solutions that fit the needs of their diners. So, go on; why not chat to the team here at Fairway Foodservice to discover how we can help?

Everyone Can Enjoy a Low-Sugar Diet

Consider this: it isn’t just diabetics who are looking for a low or no-sugar meal alternative or two. With Davina McCall’s sugar-free cookbook and Deliciously Ella’s well-publicised struggle with the sweet stuff doing the rounds, more of us are making a considered lifestyle choice to say no to sucrose. 

Diners who might have once consumed high-sugar drinks are ‘looking to up their H20 intake while seeking sugar drink alternatives’, suggests Entirely Yorkshire. It’s an opportunity for caterers to consider their soft drinks offering and introduce a range that satisfies sweet-toothed customers and proves kinder to the teeth and waistline.

Add some well-thought-out options to your menu and you’ll be glad you did – here are some recipe suggestions from the Fairway Foodservice team:

Chicken & Lentil Curry (Yield 4)

  • Ingredients
  • 5g ground cumin seeds
  • 5g coriander seeds
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 400g Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 10g fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1-3 green chillies, split open
  • 400g chicken breast, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2g chilli powder
  • 5g garam masala
  • 5g  Turmeric powder
  • juice 1 lemon
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150g red lentils

Method

  1. Add the cumin and coriander seeds to a dry saucepan and toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the oil and the onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until browned.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and chicken pieces and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric powder along with the lemon juice, tomatoes and 500ml water.
  4. Bring to the boil, mix well, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Add the lentils and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until cooked.

Apricot Pudding and Toasted Seeds (Yield 4)

  • Ingredients
  • 100g ready-to-eat dried apricots
  • 300ml orange or apple juice
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 30g mixed seeds, toasted

Method

  1. Place the apricots in a small pan and cover with the juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Set aside for 10 minutes, then place in a food processor or blender and blend to form a purée.
  3. Place the oats in a small pan, cover with 600ml of water, then place over a low heat and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Stir through half the apricot purée, divide between 4 bowls, then top with the toasted seeds and a swirl of the remaining purée.

It’s Your Duty as a Caterer 

Back in 2017, It was reported on The Caterer that caterers, restaurants and pubs simply must ‘get on board with plans to reduce sugar on menus or face the prospect of further government action including possible legislation.’ That’s the warning from Public Health England, whose mission it is to set sugar reduction targets.

By adapting your menu, you aren’t just improving your offering but boosting your reputation as a company the public can put its trust in. Embrace change positively. After all, your customers are becoming more discerning and you can make their dietary requirements and/or lifestyle choices a real selling point for your restaurant or café. 

As quoted on Bespoke.com, Alex Curtis R D – a professional dietician and blogger from Spoonful of Sugar Free – says: “With diseases like diabetes on the rise and new research on the consequences of eating too much added sugar, more people than ever are on low sugar and “sugar-free” diets. Restaurants and bars wanting to cater to their customers can increase sales and appeal to a larger audience by offering items lower in sugar.”

It’s Another String to Your Bow

You may well have perfected your vegetarian and vegan offering, so why not broaden your catering horizons that little bit further still by catering for those who’ve made the choice to enjoy a low or no-sugar diet? New market research outlines some of the big-name brands who are making a serious commitment to the cause. Take a look here and consider amending your offering, too. 

As Britain becomes more health conscious, Shape.com offers a host of ways diners can eat out and watch their figure. In a bid to enjoy healthier alternatives, they may look to you to introduce new ideas to your menu – and may well ask you for your suggestions or low-sugar meal variants.

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