Say Cheese for
your Menu Makeover

 

Cheese can take any menu from tired to terrific. For every daypart and every course, from apps to sides, from salads to sandwiches and from mains to desserts, cheese is the chameleon king of ingredients, taking different forms to suit every meal occasion.

That’s just what you’d expect of a food with a proud history in Canada of more than four centuries.1

Kraft cheese changed up the cheese world almost as soon as it was introduced in 1903, when James. L. Kraft, along with his trusted horse Paddy, put his name on the side of a rented cart and began a wholesale cheese business in Chicago.

Cheese is the ultimate versatile ingredient. It adds visual appeal, texture and flavour, and it can be used across all menu and dayparts. Cheese literally sits everywhere on a menu, making it a staple that can add excitement—and profits.

It also continues to benefit from great consumer appeal. Seventy-five percent2 of restaurant customers are seeking greater menu variety, and cheese is an excellent way to deliver both variety and creativity. Dishes featuring cheese as the central ingredient enjoy consistent popularity across Canada.

Cheese is most commonly mentioned in conjunction with sandwiches, burgers and salads, with cheddar being the most common across all three categories. But it’s so versatile, it should not be relegated to the more conventional spots on your menu.

With Canadians’ growing interest in food3 and eating occasions, cheese is ready to break out and take a more prominent place across your entire menu.

By making strategic menu makeovers, you can give cheese the place it deserves, in all meals and dayparts.

Limitless Power of Cheese

Canadians don’t like missing their breakfasts. Increasingly, they’re reaching for breakfast sandwiches and bagels to satisfy their cravings.

Breakfast sandwiches are the top growing food, up 9% vs. the previous year, and bagels are up 3% over the year before.5

Cheese, in the form of cream cheese as well as cheese slices, is becoming a staple of Canadians’ away-from-home breakfasts.

81%

Time-stressed Canadians love to grab their breakfasts away from home, with 81% sourcing breakfast from a restaurant at least once a month. The morning meal daypart (including snacking) is growing at +4%.6

Shake up your breakfast menu with some variations on consumer favourites.
Work your sides, Apps and Salads

Cheese can help you exercise more options by adding it on top, inside, or alongside other menu items, such as your apps, sides and salads, to increase your selling opportunities.

Over half of Canadians enjoy sharing their dishes, whether sides or small plates.

"Warm, cheese-based dips are wonderful for sharing,” says Kraft Corporate Chef Kira Smith, who says on-trend operators should consider the shareability factor on their menus.

"Philly cream cheese is an ideal canvas upon which to build flavour, while adding shredded cheese provides even more flavour, texture, and can provide the ‘gooey, stringy pull’ of natural cheese. Not to be forgotten, processed Cheez Whiz Cheese Spreads & Velveeta Processed Cheese Product can form the base of classics such as chile con queso and queso, and can be used as cost‑saving
elements
that also
provide
creamy
texture
and
retro.”

— Chef Kira Smith

Chef Kira Smith
Get Grilled

The first official grilled cheese recipe recorded was in 1902, using just a couple of pieces of stale bread, a slice of cheese and a sprinkle of salt and paprika.8 Grilled cheese has come a long way since then. It’s become a palette on which creative operators can design the ultimate sandwich.

Upscale your grilled cheese or add a twist that will keep your guests excited!

This is a grilled cheese with cheddar, chicken, bacon and baby spinach on regular whole wheat bread, with Kraft Creamy Caesar Dressing on the outside, and then pressed in a waffle maker.

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This colourful, piled-high grilled cheese features green and red peppers, onions, sliced ham, eggs and Kraft Extra Cheddar Old English Cheese Slices.

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This classic processed cheese grilled cheese, says Chef Kira, is incredibly decadent—the herbed Philly takes it over the top with it’s unexpected flavour and creaminess.

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These grilled cheese variations will add on-trend excitement to any menu:

“Decadent and craveable, a signature macaroni and cheese can entice guests. Call out the romance on your dish, be it a variety of cheeses, rich lobster, crispy pancetta, spicy habanero, or a buttery, herbed-panko crust…whatever makes it unique,” says Chef Kira.

“Enrich mashed or twice baked potatoes with cream cheese and shredded cheese—just one

example of how to create endless opportunity for introducing different flavours within a rich,creamy texture. Pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches…the list is endless of where cheese can add a premium touch.”

Click here for great mashup inspiration

Decadent mixture of cheese and ingredients for endless flavour .

They are more likely to eat dessert when they want to treat or reward themselves (72%) or are feeling happy (52%). In addition, 36% are driven by a feeling of nostalgia for desserts. Dessert occasions are also influenced by the dining party, the report says: 42% of full-service restaurant desserts and 31% of limited-service restaurant desserts are shared.9 You won’t want to miss out on your share of the dessert pie!

Chocolate Stout

Chocolate Stout “Cupcakes” with Philly Buttercream Frosting

There are the classics, of course—cheesecake, tiramisu with mascarpone, carrot cake with cream cheese icing, apple pie with a slice of cheddar.

“But you can certainly venture into other areas with cheese by incorporating a potentially unexpected flavour—like a touch of goat cheese in your cheesecake for its distinct tanginess, or, in an unexpected medium—like adding some shredded cheddar cheese to your apple crumble topping for a subtle hint of flavour.

Cheese can also help you make the most of seasonal dessert opportunities. How about an Oktoberfest menu, starting with a cheddar and beer dip with soft pretzels and ending with a Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing? Now that’s sweet!

Inspired? We thought so. Click here to learn more about how our full line up of versatile and iconic cheese brands can enhance all the day parts in your menu.
01. Creativity / innovation.

New varietals of cheese can add a unique or premium touch without introducing a lot of added complexity. For example, Kraft Habanero Heat Cheese made with both habanero and jalapeño chilies adds both a visual change of pace and a hit of heat that answers the call from consumers who are increasingly interested in spicy foods and ingredients.

02. Cost-saving.

You can create several different dishes with the addition of one ingredient. Since cheese is such a versatile ingredient, you can use it on a variety of items—which is great for minimizing waste. For example, consider the potential of cheddar cheese, which is a perennial favourite in Canada…omelettes, breakfast skillets, crostini, nachos, sandwich melts, wraps, mac’n’cheese, pizza, salads, That is a lot of bang for your buck!

03. Perception of a more upscale menu.

Cheese is a premium product. There is a ‘wholesome’ quality to natural cheese that lends itself to a perception of premium, especially given consumer interest in more natural ingredients.

04.Flavour profile creation.

Cheese helps you establish a flavour goal for your menu items, for instance highlighting mellow, nutty, subtle, or bold. A cheeseburger takes on an entirely different profile when topped with a spicy cheese.

Inspired? We thought so. Click here to learn more about how our full line up of versatile and iconic cheese brands can enhance all the day parts in your menu.
  1. Dairy Goodness, http://www.dairygoodness.ca/cheese/the-history-of-cheese/cheese-in-canada;
  2. Canadian Dairy Information Centre, http://cheese-fromage.agr.gc.ca/index.cfm?lang=en&menupos=1;
  3. Technomic Menu Monitor 2014;
  4. Technomic, Canadian Consumer Breakfast Trend Report, https://blogs.technomic.com/looking-for-better-value-at-breakfast/;
  5. NPD Crest, 52 weeks p/e May 2014;
  6. NPD/Crest YE November 2013;
  7. Technomic Canada, Canadian Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report;
  8. http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsandwiches.html
  9. Technomic Inc., 2013, The Canadian Dessert Consumer Trend Report
Top Cheese Flavours