The Summer Breakfast Opportunity

While touted as the most important meal of the day, breakfast was often a meal rushed, missed or certainly down the list of importance when it came to eating occasions.

Thankfully, that has all changed and now there is a newfound respect and excitement around breakfast which is only going to build this summer.

You can be certain that for kitchens to survive and thrive in the coming months, they will need to make the most of every dining occasion, across all day parts.

Here we’ve broken down the latest consumer trends to help support you to create the perfect breakfast offer:


Even before the pandemic, the trend for healthy living and eating was growing. This has only increased in the last year with more and more people looking to keep fit. Make sure you have the food and drinks to fuel and reward this health-conscious crowd. In care homes a healthy, fortified breakfast can give residents a big boost in the morning. Offering a variety of drink options such as our Summer Fruit Smoothie made with Country Range Frozen Summer Fruits as well as a breakfast food dish can help to increase intake of essential vitamins, fluid and calories.


This summer will be dominated by reconnecting with friends, family and loved ones. With many opting for breakfast or brunch, instead of the big Sunday roast or night time drinks, there is a great opportunity for kitchens to pull out all of the stops. Mix it up with some savoury and sweet specials such as our Yogurt Pancakes or Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese recipes.


A newfound love of the outdoors for many, means local parks and commons will still be popular breakfast dining venues so make sure your menu has takeaway options, smoothies and coffee to-go.

Go Global

People are desperate for sea, sand, surf and serene scenery abroad so cater for these whims by showcasing some classic international twists on breakfasts. Consider using global inspired flavours and formats in both a sweet and savoury option. For a savoury option our Baked Mexican Egg recipe uses Country Range Medium Free Range Eggs, Country Range Tomato and Basil Sauce and a variety of the Country Range herbs and spices. For a sweet option recreate our indulgent Bombay Spiced French Toast recipe which includes the Country Range Natural Yoghurt, Country Range Coconut Milk and Country Range Medium Free Range Eggs.

Themed Breakfasts

Go the extra mile and run some themed breakfasts in the month of May, as there are plenty of occasions coming up. Think bottomless brunches or breakfast’s for the bank holiday weekends, a mexican inspired breakfast or brunch for Cinco de Mayo, or even a sport or charity related breakfast event.


Advice from the Experts – The 8 Big Trends for 2021

By Charles Banks, Co Founder, thefoodpeople 

For 2021 we head into a period of ‘Industry – Reset’. Owing to the pandemic and other global shifts we expect to see continued shifts in lifestyle as people decide how they want to react, behave, choose and consume in times of change. On the subject of reset, we predict a more self-sufficient, family orientated and self-contained lifestyle, consumers are aligning themselves with the tribes that they believe can make the positive change needed to reset across all areas of society.

Bringing wider societal behaviour back to the world of foodservice and out of home food and drink, amongst the many complex trend and counter trends manifestations, we see 8 key trend themes for 2021.

Here are 8 big trends for 2021 that we expect to see…

  1. MINI SPLURGE. Whilst many consumers might be starting to feel the financial aftermath of pandemic, they still want to treat themselves with little ‘touches of luxury’ and edible indulgence in food.
  2. THRIFT. Diners and operators are getting thrifty, for both cost and environmental reasons. Throwaway culture is rejected in favour of ‘upcycling’ surplus food and would-be waste into desirable culinary creations.
  3. COMFORT. The wider world is uncertain and stressful, so consumers want to make their own world as comfortable as possible. Comfort food is a reassurance, a ritual, a time, an experience or a place a safety either in the present or past. The obsession with baking continues unabated, gourmet sandwiches, lasagne, noodles and pizza – comfort is embraced across the spectrum.
  4. HOME DELIVERY. The online and home delivery revolution is well underway; today’s consumer expects to get anything (and everything) delivered – and fast. Accelerated by the pandemic the notion of @HOME has moved from novelty to necessity. Retail brands and hospitality alike are turning to direct to consumer as an essential evolution of channel strategy. In the new world ‘food goes to people’.
  5. HEALTHY GUT & BETTER MIND. Gut health gains even more traction as we learn more about the link between our guts, immune function and mental health. Consumers are looking for practical solutions to help them on their mental health journey from pre sleep relaxation, yoga, meditation, apoptogenic foods, CBD and more.
  6. LOVE YOUR VEG. If the motivations of human and planet health, animal welfare weren’t enough to tempt consumers to make the shift, plants now also have a ‘hygiene halo’ in the reset era. In their natural form we see evermore examples of plants being celebrated their seasonality and varieties, brought centre stage through techniques such as confit, charring or fermenting. Meat replacers and alternatives begin to move with the rest of food culture, they evolve to shorter, more natural ingredients lists.
  7. ALFRESCO COOKING & DINING. Being out in the fresh air has a new level of relevance and appeal. Either imposed by local restrictions or by choice many are opting to dine outdoors, out of home. This is new level of outdoor cooking and eating – pizza and barbecue kits are sourced from artisan butchers or restaurants famed for brisket and expertly blended sauces and marinades.
  8. FIRE COOKING. Chefs are getting ever more creative in their fire cooking –  experimenting with types of wood and smoke (olive, chestnut, hickory, maple, oak and more) to layering ‘fire flavours’ over each other (think charred steak with blistered tomatoes and smoked hollandaise); and embracing global grill techniques such as Japanese, Korean and Thai barbeque to fire cooking desserts.







Christmas with a Difference

We all know Christmas is going to be very different this year across the industry, the key is looking at what opportunities exist and making the most of each and every one.

Customers still want to see winter and festive flavours across menus whether it is a three course sit down meal or grabbing lunch on-the-go or to take home.

Wrapping everything customers love about a Christmas dinner into a filling, handheld menu option is a definite winner. Take a giant Yorkshire pudding as the ‘wrap’, add a smear of Country Range Cranberry Sauce then fill with layers of cooked turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, parsnips, roasted potatoes, Country Range Fancy Peas and hot gravy. Roll up as you would a wrap and serve – delicious!

Offering different promotions such as a bottle of wine and a sharing dish such as this delicious Baked Camembert with Sage and Bacon can encourage diners who don’t necessarily want to go venture out for a full three course meal to treat themselves to a smaller occasion.

The dish is so easy and simple to make too. Defrost some Country Range Doughballs, cutting each one into 8 then roll the dough into small balls. Prove on an oiled tray for 30 minutes. While proving, dice your Country Range Bacon, cook off then cool.

Add your camembert with the doughballs arranged around then sprinkle with the diced bacon and dried sage. Drizzle olive oil over and bake in a pre-heated oven for 8 minutes.

“Customers still want to s winter and festive flavours across menus.”

A Different Approach

A lot of caterers are looking towards a new way of operating with takeaway and delivery options becoming a big part of their offering. As a result, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. 

In uncertain times, plant-based dishes provide an inclusive, sustainable menu option while reducing cost per serving. To offer something a little bit different on your menu, bring together core plant-based products with global-inspired BBQ flavours – perfect for summer.

To create this Korean BBQ Cauliflower with Fried Rice dish create a marinade using Country Range Soy Sauce, Country Range Pure Clear Honey, peanut butter, Sesame Oil, garlic and White Wine Vinegar. Brush the mix onto a char grilled cauliflower steak or bite sized cauliflower florets and grill further until tender and charred. Serve with egg fried rice, which you can make using Country Range Easy Cook Basmati Rice, Country Range Free Range Eggs, Country Range Soy Sauce, onion, garlic and veggies of your choice. This could easily be served as an on-the-go rice box with a twist, as a lunch offering or as an alternative to the traditional Chinese takeaway on an evening delivery menu.

Another dish that is great for health-conscious diners that want a tasty treat is King Prawn Satay using the sweet and succulent Country Range King Prawns.

Mix peanut butter, lime juice and zest, Country Range Coconut Milk, Country Range Soy Sauce, Country Range Pure Clear Honey and curry powder to create a marinade for the prawns. Marinate your prawns in the mixture, making sure you leave half as your dipping sauce to serve. Brush the prawns with oil and place in a pre-heated oven at 260°C for 2 minutes, then turn and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side as an al-fresco starter if your business layout allows.

The Country Range King Prawns are raw, peeled, deveined and sustainably sourced. They are farmed in warm tropical waters and IQF guaranteeing the freshest and finest quality.

Keep safe, keep sane – keep cooking.

Dickson’s Diary: Feeling Special

The number of people following special diets continues to grow and it’s therefore massively important for caterers to take responsibility to prevent cross contamination.

Gluten free is seeing the biggest growth driven through lifestyle change, and separate preparation areas and equipment are an absolute must.

Front of house personnel need to be educated and take responsibility too. There are lots of easy changes you can make, such as substituting flour with cornflour, and there are plenty of Country Range products to help in the making and preparation of FreeFrom and Gluten Free dishes.

There has been a lot of development in ready-made products, so much so that you can’t tell the difference. A great example is the Country Range Gluten Free Carrot Cake – it’s delicious! The question is, do you need to have both? Why not minimise the risk (and cost) by only offering Gluten Free?

Menu planning should be as simple as possible and you should write your recipes  focusing on a small group of customers, then extend them to different food groups. For example, take the Country Range Five Bean Salad, which is vegan and gluten free. Add some chilli, garlic and vegetables for a Mexican vibe which will appeal to vegans, then you can add cheese for vegetarians, prawns for pescatarians or meat for meat-eaters. Focus on seasonality and use spices to enhance your dishes and keep an eye on current trends.

The Country Range Curry Pastes are allergen-free and vegan and also tick the box for gluten free too. Add chickpeas, sweet potato, butternut squash and seasonal greens for a good vegan, FreeFrom dish. Add flaked salmon or Country Range King Prawns for pescatarians or create a surf and turf for meat eaters by adding pork or chicken to the prawns. Serve with Country Range Easy Cook Basmati Rice.

Dignity in Dining

The miniature elements included within an afternoon tea or ‘finger foods’ have some real benefits when it comes to different issues that can be faced by residents within a care home.

Caterers in the care sector are all too aware of dysphagia – the life-threatening medical condition, which causes sufferers to struggle with swallowing.

To allow all residents to fine together and enjoy attractive, delicious tasting foods we have utilised a variety of Country Range products to create a lovely afternoon tea suitable for those residents suffering from dysphagia.

• Country Range Ready to Serve Custard
• Country Range Plain Sponge & Pudding Mix
• Country Range UHT Dairy Whipping Cream
• Country Range Scone Mix
• Country Range Supreme Coronation Chicken Filling
• Country Range Frozen Medium White Sliced Bread

IDDSI (International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative) testing methods were used throughout recipe creation to ensure the food/liquid meets IDDSI Level 4. However, please always carry out your own IDDSI texture checks before serving any dishes to residents suffering from dysphagia.

To access the full recipe for each element of our afternoon tea please visit

Making An Occasion of Tea 

A good cup of tea has the power to unite us, even during the gravest of crises, such as the one we are currently experiencing. For care home residents, who are isolated from their families, it’s important to create sociable events and provide comfort and reassurance. Afternoon tea provides the perfect opportunity to gather everyone together, and your Country Range Group wholesaler
has everything you need to create it with ease.

Country Range 40 Mini Cake Assortment
Country Range Sultanas
Country Range Scone Mix
Country Range Cooked Gammon Ham
Country Range Mature White Cheddar Cheese Slices
Country Range Medium Wholemeal Sliced Bread


Benefits of Finger Food in Care 

  • Finger foods provide a nutritious and enjoyable alternative to plated meals
  • They can be used as extra nutritious snacks for those who need them. This can be particularly useful for people who forget to eat or find coordination difficult such as with dementia or following a stroke
  • Can be eaten easily without the need for cutlery and hold their form when picked up, ideal for a person who finds coordination difficult
  • Encourage people to maintain their independence by enabling them to eat themselves
  • For people who take a while to eat, don’t try to serve hot finger foods. Instead opt for foods which are best serve cold
  • Miniature versions of foods are often better than cutting up larger items, as this creates a more stable product that is less likely to fall apart
  • Many cultures provide examples of finger foods which could be adapted for older people

Not to be confused with High Tea, Afternoon Tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess often became hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon and was said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling”.

• Afternoon Tea Week 2020 takes place from August 10-16
• For a variation on the afternoon tea theme, why not celebrate national Cream Tea Day on June 26? You could ask some of your residents to help make the scones too

What’s Your dream Tea Party?

NAPA, the National Activity Providers Association, is giving care settings the chance to win an all-expenses paid tea party. All you need to do to enter is share your thoughts on what your dream party would involve. FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN a ‘Tea Party In 2020’ with all costs covered up to £500, simply complete the following statement “Our dream Tea Party would include… (in 250 words max) and email it to:, including the name of the care setting, a contact number and the name of who to contact should you win.

Closing date for entries is 1st June 2020