Macaroni cheese has been dominating the US market for years, to the extent that standalone mac and cheese restaurants have opened in New York, San Francisco and across the States! But in recent years this American favourite has become more and more popular for foodservice operators here in the UK. According to research by Horizons, since 2010 the inclusion of mac and cheese on menus in the UK has increased by 550%.
But macaroni cheese is not a new dish in the UK, once featuring in Mrs Beeton’s Victorian cookery books, the meal has been seen as a home comfort food for decades.
So why is mac and cheese only just being added to menus?
The increase in gourmet burgers, hotdogs, salads and ‘gourmet’ almost everything has also spread to include side dishes, such as the common American options of fries and mac and cheese.
But it’s not just regular macaroni cheese in the menu, the classic dish has been given a new twist to reflect the modern trends, loved by younger diners, of customisation and premiumisation.
Some of the most popular toppings and ingredients include bacon, pulled pork, sautéed onions, lobster, peas and the use of premium and unusual cheeses.
For foodservice operators, adding mac and cheese is simple from an operational point of view, as you will not need additional equipment. Pasta dishes, in general, provide a cost-effective meal option, and by offering extra toppings and additions customer spend can be increased. With mac and cheese being quick and easy to produce, and the option of revamping with different ingredients, operators find it simple to incorporate the item onto the menu, whether as a standalone item, a side dish or as a gourmet treat for an already existing meal item such as a burger.
Horizons state that prices for the dish on UK menus vary from £2.39 – £3.75 for a side order, to £5.95 – £9.25 for a main course.
Mac & Cheese is a fantastic option for establishments that provide a takeaway service. By using suitable packaging, foodservice operators can provide a heat-retaining, filling dish that customers can easily eat on the go.
Take a look at some of our previous blog posts on packaging that is ideal for serving Macaroni cheese:
American restaurants are said to be a big trend in 2016, with many of the existing chains in the UK rapidly expanding. Mexican food will start to take a side seat, because this year Brits want burgers, fries, shakes and of course mac and cheese.