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Food On-The-Go Trend 2017 – Sweet potato wedges replacing the humble spud…

In the UK we’ve been late-comers to the global sweet potato party, but now we can’t get enough of them. According to a Sainsbury’s survey, 40 per cent of us bought them to try for the first-time last year. Sweet potato consumption has increased, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.

In a new series of blogs for 2017 we’re bringing food operators the latest trends for the on-the-go food market. From Acai bowls and Poke, to Bao burgers and rolled ice-cream – we’ll be taking a close look at the must-have dishes essential for any 2017 take-out menu; and we’ll be exploring why these dishes have risen to popularity so quickly.

Both home cooks and restaurant chefs have been opting to use the orange-coloured sweet potato in place of the more traditional spud. Sweet-potato wedges and fries are fast replacing ordinary ones to accompany burgers or roasts. And other sweet potato twists on these favourites include sweet potato skins, sweet potato chips, and mashed sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato has been popular in other parts of the world for centuries. The Ugandans sun-dry it and serve it for breakfast with peanut sauce; the Chinese bake it and sell it in the streets; and in the United States no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without it.

Fresh sweet potatoes are plentiful both in the supermarket and from food wholesalers, and they can be bought both fresh or frozen, whole, or as fries, wedges and chips.

There are multiple sweet potato wedge recipes online – many of which look to compliment that lovely sweet taste with other bright, sharp flavours. This is often achieved by adding a spiced or smoky coating before they are baked. The BBC Good Food website recommends tossing sweet potatos in cumin, chilli and sumac and then oven baking with lemon and garlic for chunky chips which are crispy yet fluffy.

More unusual variations on sweet potato dishes includes sweet potato toast. Sweet potato toast is the creation of food blogger Kelsey who writes at Little Bits Of. Kelsey posted a photo of her new creation on Instagram where her followers went into a sweet potato toast induced frenzy. As for toppings, Kelsey recommends avocado, almond butter, and tuna.

Fibre, antioxidants, minerals – the sweet potato is just so much more nutritious than the white variety. It’s loaded with vitamins A and C, but has a low glycemic load of only 17 (compared to an index of 29 for regular potatoes). They’re high in potassium, too.

The health benefits of consuming sweet potatoes range from antioxidant support and digestion acceleration to the improvement of blood sugar regulation and anti-inflammatory activity. Sweet potatoes are good for your skin, and have lots of beta-carotene to help you fight off disease.

However, be warned, if you deep-fry sweet potatoes or them or serve them with lots of butter, the health benefits become diluted. Eating sweet potatoes doesn’t mean we can stop eating health-giving greens such as cabbage and kale.

Serving wedges or fries to be eaten on the go requires packaging that can handle piping hot food, and can be held in one hand, freeing the other hand up to eat them. Sometimes wedges or fries will have a slightly oily residue, so a coated inner to the packaging is also a must.

At Bunzl Catering Supplies, we have a multitude of wedge and fries packaging options, from traditional fish-and-chip news wrapping and foam chip trays, to more contemporary paperboard packaging, either plain or printed in a stock design.

Kraft snack cups, from our partner supplier Colpac Packaging, are a great example of chip scoops made from paperboard – designed to stand on a surface, or be hand-held. With a PE coating on the inside, any oil, grease or other liquid remains contained in the packaging. Suitable for hot food, and available in both Kraft or white, these snack cups are delivered in cases of 1000, nested (inserted into each other) to reduce the requirement for storage space.

Similarly, our paperboard Festival chip scoops, from partner supplier Coveris, are the perfect packaging to try out your new sweet potato wedges or fries offer. Packed in cases of 1000, Festival chip scoops are printed in a vibrant stock design influenced by the theme of ‘street food’.

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