Meet Your New Customer

Here Come the Flexitarians

Vegetarians and vegans aren’t the only ones looking for plant-based proteins. Increasingly, many people around the world are following a flexitarian diet, which means they actively choose to eat less meat. Here are some of the reasons that may influence their dining choices1.




  1. Dataessentials plant-based entry, 2018

This article was originally published the Make it Sizzle — The New Plant-based Meat Alternatives issue of Nutripro: Nestlé Professional Nutrition Magazine. To read the full magazine, click here.


4 Must-Try Middle Eastern Flavors

4 Must-Try Middle Eastern Flavors

Warm, aromatic spices. Flavor-packed meat and meatless dishes. Craveable dairy-free cooking. Unique condiments—wow, are we glad that recent years have brought a rise to Middle Eastern cuisines. What was once mysterious and unexplored, now continues to climb on U.S. menus. The extensive range of flavors, ingredients, and dishes goes far beyond hummus and falafel. We’ve been tracking these four intriguing ingredients that you can introduce to your customers in easy and accessible ways. 
Fermenting, pickling, and aging have been hot topics for us the past couple of years, and Middle Eastern foods naturally fit into this trend. Have you tried torshi seer yet? This Persian staple is garlic pickled in vinegar. A variety of vinegars can be used from red wine to balsamic. Rather than being hard and pungent, the cloves evolve into soft, sweet, mild bites. Some even say it melts in your mouth! Make it an accompaniment to a meat or fish entrée, create a yogurt-torshi seer dip, or once it’s soft enough, use it as a spread on sandwiches.


The pickling continues with amba, an Iraqi condiment made of pickled green mangoes with vinegar, salt, turmeric, chili and fenugreek. It’s tangy and somewhat similar to a savory mango chutney. You can traditionally find it with shawarma and falafel, but it can easily be incorporated on an American menu. Give it a try on a grilled chicken sandwich, add it to a charcuterie board, or create a savory-sour side dish by mixing it with rice. Amba can really pack a punch, so play around with the correct level of flavor for your application.
Our next hot item hails from Yemen, and we’re serious when we say hot. Schug, also spelled zhug or skhug, is a savory hot sauce that brings the heat from fresh green peppers such as serrano or jalapeno. However, that heat is balanced with bright, fresh notes from ingredients like lemon, cilantro, and parsley. It’s most commonly found at Fast Casual and Fine Dining restaurants, but schug is taking off with +219% menu growth over the past four years. While this hard-to-pronounce condiment is imbedded in Middle Eastern cuisines, incorporate it into Western dishes to encourage trial with your guests. We know you’re well versed in what to do with a spicy sauce, so go for it!
Last but not least is tahini (also referred to as tehina), which you may be more familiar with than you think as it’s a staple ingredient in hummus—toasted ground sesame seed. An upward trend in menu growth for the past decade and a boom in Middle Eastern fare proves this ingredient isn’t going anywhere. But have you really explored all that tahini can do? Its creamy and nutty nature makes it perfect for dips, sauces, glazes, marinades, and even desserts. Have you seen the Goldie Tehina Shake? It’s a delectable take on a milkshake from a vegan, Israeli-style falafel shop in Philly. This guest favorite comes in flavors Original, Turkish Coffee, Mint Chocolate, and Date.
Sampling these flavors is sure to excite your taste buds. We hope you’ll seek them out soon and find creative ways to incorporate them into your own menu items. We’d love to help you create your next hit menu item, so let’s talk about a FlavorIQ® approach that’s right for your operation.  For a further look into Middle Eastern Eats, see our trend spotlight for menu inspiration and a recipe video. Or read what Chef Michael Hornback has to say of these cuisines in his recent blog post. Happy taste testing!

Joe Beitzel
Brand Marketing Director
Custom Culinary, Inc.

This article was originally published on Custom Culinary’s Chef Talk. To learn more about Custom Culinary, visit



What’s Cooking? Surprise, It’s Not Meat!

It’s not often that the industry gets to welcome a whole new category to the menu. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the latest plant-based alternatives to meat.

In response to a rising demand for sustainable, healthy ways to eat, plant-based proteins are popping up on menus all over the globe1. And unlike traditional tofu, tempeh, or even early meat alternatives, these new foods capture the taste and texture of real meat and poultry, making them a hit with all kinds of consumers, from vegans and vegetarians to flexitarians.

These advances come as many consumers are looking for ways to reduce their meat consumption. Whether they’re changing their eating habits out of concern for their health, the environment, animal welfare, or other reasons, people are actively looking for options when they’re dining out.

While this trend began in fast food, these products are becoming widely accepted in different channels around the world. It all adds up to create an exciting opportunity for you. To help you make the most of it, we’ve put together a primer on these new products, who’s eating them and why, and how you can make the most of them to satisfy this new demand.

History of Meat Alternatives

history of meat alternatives

People have been using grain to make the center of plate for a long time, but the products that recreate the look, taste, and texture of beef or chicken so closely are more recent cooking innovations.

Some key historical dates:

200 BC: Soy-based tofu is invented in China by the Han dynasty. 

535 AD: Use of wheat gluten as protein is recorded in a Chinese agricultural encyclopedia. 

1800: Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans in Indonesia. 

1877: John Harvey Kellogg develops meat replacements from nuts, grains, and soy to feed patients in his vegetarian sanitarium in the US. 

1902: Dietitian Sarah Tyson Rorer publishes Mrs. Rorer’s Vegetable Cookery and Meat Substitutes in the US. 

1962: Marushima Shoyu K.K sells wheat gluten as “seitan” in Japan. It is imported to the US seven years later. 

1985: Soy schnitzel is created in Israel and mushroom-based meat alternatives in the UK. 

2015: Realistic raw-to- cooked beef alternatives become mainstream in consumer and quick service restaurant markets. 


  1. Eat Lancet, 2019

This article was originally published the Make it Sizzle — The New Plant-based Meat Alternatives issue of Nutripro: Nestlé Professional Nutrition Magazine. To read the full magazine, click here.


Ozone: A Powerful Weapon to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

For more than 100 years, ozone, considered a killer of viruses in nature, has been widely used by people for disinfection, sterilization, deodorization, disintoxication, storage, and bleaching thanks to its strong oxidablity.

And because of this, ozone should be adopted as a weapon in the global fight against COVID-19. It has three following attributes:

  • Full coverage: Ozone created by ozone generators or electrostatic air purifiers can reach every corner of the environment, which can overcome the problem that ultraviolet sterilization can only go straight up and down, leaving some places unsterilized.
  • High detergency: Oxidizing bacteria and virus is how ozone works, with no poisonous residue. On the contrary, the chemical disinfectant we use now is not only harmful to human body, but also will cause secondary population of poisonous residue. During the current epidemic, the overuse of disinfecting water has been a serious problem that we should pay attention to.
  • Convenience: Ozone can be produced by simple equipment. The equipment, large or small, can be used for a single room, a large public space, or public transportation modes such as buses, high-speed railways, ships and airplanes.

The effectiveness of ozone in treating bacteria and virus is not only related to its concentration, temperatures, humidity and exposure time, but also related to the strains of bacteria.

According to results of the experiment on how ozone kills SARS virus conducted by the national P3 laboratory headed by Professor Li Zelin, ozone is effective in killing the SARS virus inoculated on green monkey kidney cells, realizing a killing rate of 99.22%. The virus found in Wuhan and SARS virus both belong to the coronavirus. Researchers found that the novel coronavirus is 80% similar to the SARS virus in their genome sequences. It is reasonable to predict that ozone is equally effective in preventing and controlling the new coronavirus.

Ozone, though highly effective for sterilization and disinfection, will cause discomfort, or irritate mucous membranes, when it reaches a certain concentration level. Therefore, it is mainly used in unmanned environment.

If ozone can be used in a human environment to kill the new coronavirus and clean air, it will be a blessing to use it in crowded hospitals, factories, public spaces, closed public transportation, and indoor homes.

Whether ozone can take effect heavily depends on our ability to control its concentration levels. The volatile gas is easy to produce, but difficult to be controlled at a certain level, because of the cost of ozone sensors. Without the real-time test of sensors, it is out of the question to control its concentration.

If ozone can be controlled under a safe level by cheap and effective measures, ozone can be more easily used by people, which will lead to its use in human environment. Therefore, how to dramatically reduce the cost of ozone sensors is the challenge to be addressed at the moment.

Amid the epidemic, it is suggested that we can reasonably heighten standards for indoor ozone levels and try using ozone for disinfection and sterilization in human environment. Fortunately, Zhang Yue has donated ozone-generating purifiers to Huoshenshan Hospital and cubic hospitals, hoping this equipment can play a role in protecting medics’ lives and saving infected patients.

The relationship between ozone and microorganism demonstrates the exquisite balance on living bodies on earth. On the one hand, without the protection of the ozone layer, bacteria and virus cannot be found on earth, and on the other hand, ozone with strong oxidablity will kill bacteria and virus. People’s knowledge of ozone is still far from enough. We should abandon the prejudice of ozone, the over vigilance of ozone, try to solve the puzzle of ozone, and fully explore the characteristics of ozone for human use. We must secure the help of ozone at the time of the new coronavirus epidemic. We must work together to make good use of ozone to defeat the epidemic.


Worldchefs’ Global Partner Q Industries‘ Medklinn product with CerafusionTM Technology helps to kill the virus accordingly. Explore in the graphic below how CerafusionTM create O3 like the nature does as well as how O3 work to kill virus & bacteria.

To read more about Medklinn technology, check out this article in Issue 24 of Worldchefs Magazine.

Learn more at and contact their team via [email protected] for more information.


The article’s author, Zhou Muzhi, is a professor of Tokyo Keizai University and president of Cloud River Urban Research Institute.

This article was originally published on

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