Part of our business – Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) – supplies products and services to companies in the foodservice industry such as restaurants, hotel chains and large-scale caterers. Through a global network of employees, which includes over 300 professional chefs, we help these companies source ingredients, create recipes and optimise menus, as well as providing chef training and support.
So we’re using our extensive experience and R&D expertise – especially when it comes to food safety and brand and product development – as these companies move to cloud kitchen operations.
Preparing, cooking and presenting food for takeaway and delivery is quite different from serving food in a restaurant where, as soon as the dish is made, it’s carried from the kitchen to the customer’s table. Creating that same dish to deliver across a city has several important implications.
The food needs to remain stable, fresh and warm for longer. So we help design dishes and ingredients that, when the box is opened, look and taste as they would in the restaurant. That’s not straightforward when you consider these boxes can be in transit for some time and sped around streets on the back of a bike.
As UFS Marketing Manager Yulia Zotova says: “Cloud kitchens are usually very data-driven. They constantly optimise the menu. And their success depends on kitchen efficiency as well as the right packaging, logistics and dish presentation. Therefore UFS can play even a bigger role with our culinary expertise, HoReCa [hotel, restaurant, café] and diners’ insights, and supply of tasty and high-quality food ingredients.”
Food safety is an important aspect to professional catering. During Covid, there’s a lot more pressure to get it right. We consult and train chefs in all aspects of food safety and hygiene, so customers are reassured that the food has come from a clean, safe kitchen environment.
Aside from chefmanship and safety knowledge, we bring a huge amount of experience and expertise in everything from nutrition to sustainability, food waste to packaging.
We’re also equipped with a portfolio of purpose-led brands. This can be an important asset for cloud kitchens to leverage – especially for virtual or digital restaurants – as they need to entice consumers to their dishes. People are often attracted to names that they know and trust.