Against a backdrop of staff shortages in foodservice, chefs are seeking more pre-prepared fruit and veg

Foodservice supplier Fresh Direct has reported sales of prepared produce growing by more than 10 per cent in the past year as chefs increasingly seek time-saving products in the kitchen.

Fresh Direct's pulled mushroom meat dirty vegan burger

Fresh Direct’s pulled mushroom meat dirty vegan burger

The fast-growing pre-prepared sector is helping address some of the problems caused by staff shortages, Fresh Direct noted, and includes products that can be sliced, diced, shredded, quartered or cut into many different sizes and shapes to suit a variety of dishes and menus.

Innovation is also driving much of the growth in the market, the supplier added. Fresh Direct, for example, has introduced a range of value-added products such as foraged mushroom meat, launched in response to demand for vegan products that are not ultra processed and providing chefs with a clean-label, vegan product.

Timesaving is another key factor and has seen the introduction of a range of Freshlock products, supplied by growing partner Barfoots, which include a baked potato and sweetcorn, cooked using gentle pasteurisation, which save time in the kitchen as they are precut and just require warming in the oven.

In addition, Fresh Direct has launched shredded white cabbage, red cabbage and Savoy, which are washed and ready to eat for making slaws and salads. It has also introduced new vegetable mixes, such as a roast veg mix and creative slaws such as the new rainbow slaw.

Paul Nieduszynski, CEO for Sysco GB, said: “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.

“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.”