Flatbreads are quickly becoming pizza's more versatile cousins. Foodservice operators are cross-utilizing salad greens, olives and pulled meats to create signature starters.
Retail flatbreads of all flavors reach $286 million in U.S. sales in 2014, according to data from Nielsen Scantrack, with pita bread the top seller. Americanized flatbreads and pizza crusts – not described as pita, nann or other ethnic descriptor – totaled $96.7 million in 2014 sales, but they're just the tip of the culinary iceberg.
Less embellished flatbreads like focaccia and pita are perfect for dipping, spreading and pairing with cheese, olives and salad bar favorites.
Chef David Kamen, project manager for CIA Consulting, part of the Culinary Institute of America's (CIA) continuing education divisions, sees this flatbreads-plus-dips-plus-greens equation as a Middle Eastern approach to eating with lots of potential for grocerants.
"Breads are vessels or a container for getting dips, grain-and-herb salads and skewereed meats from the table to the mouth," says Kamen, nothing that the building-your-own appoeach works well at communal tables. "Hands and bread are used more, and everything is shareable. "It's a way to make a meal social and fun."
Article by Kathy Hayden, Progressive Grocer: Grocerant Solutions