USES OF CONVENIENCE FOOD IN CATERING INDUSTRY
It would be wiser to begin this study with the mentioning of advancement in technology which has changed virtually the way people think, eat and select the choice of their meal. Due to the changes in the nature of life and the increasingly complex nature of people’s business and means of survival. It became imperative that foods that are consumed by people have changed from traditionally prepared foods to convenience foods.
The word convenience foods can be defined as any group of foods that requires little or no preparation and they can be served either hot or cold. Convenience foods may also include foods that have been processed from their raw state so that it becomes almost edible any may not requires any addition cooking.
These convenience foods have found their way into homes, offices, schools and even the hospitality industry. For the purpose of our study, the study shall be limited to the uses and effects of convenience foods in hospitality industry.
Due to the problem of meeting with the demand of coping with the complex situation of people’s job, an average consumer wants an array of food products that creates les work and allows them to spend more time seeking enjoyments, whether it is a special moment with their kids or with their job.
Nowadays, it is usual to shop occasionally and to maintain stores of dried, canned and frozen foods which can be used to prepare a meal quickly. Readymade dishes containing a variety of ingredients can now be purchased, saving time and effort. Some dishes which would require skill in preparation are very successful in the convenience form.
Convenience foods can be classified into three basic types:
1. Canned foods: They are easy to store in a dry cupboard and they have a long-shelf life-they can either be served cold are:- sardines, fruit, ham and examples of those needed to be reheated are: vegetables, stew meat, etc.
2. Dehydrated foods: These are light weight and easy to carry whole meals available are: and dry fish, dry meat, spaghetti etc.
Some dehydrated foods can be reconstituted instantly. Examples are powdered coffee and milk.
3. Frozen foods: They are probably nearest in quality to fresh foods and we have a wide variety of foods in its category which are:- meat, poultry, fish, vegetables etc.
Some advantages of convenience goods are;
- It saves time in preparation
- The quality is consistent
- It can be stored in a cupboard or freezer for long periods
- There is no wastage
- They add variety to diet
While the major disadvantages are:
- Some types of foods are expensive foods and should be used with direction
- Vitamins B and C may be lost during processing.
The use of convenience foods has several functions which include increasing the appetite of consumers, complimenting traditional foods and above all, increasing the nutritional needs of an average consumer who visits a hospitable industry.
Since World War II, there has been a rapid growth in the use of convenience foods in home-prepared meals. Convenience foods are characterized by frozen, canned, dry mixes, powdered, and freeze-dried products. Consumers, familiar with these convenience foods, are becoming aware of their increasing use by fast-food outlets, restaurants, and other foodservices. High costs of labor and energy, equipment, food ingredients, and the lack of culinary skill are reasons why food managers are attracted to the convenience food concept.
In 1974, Americans spent over $147 billion for food. Nearly a third of this amount was spent for food eaten away from home, and about one out of three meals is now eaten away from home. By 1985, our food spending may be evenly divided between home and away-from-home eating.
The use of convenience foods is expected to continue to increase as a result of new technology, including the use of disposable packaging, new package coatings and films, and the concept of portion control.
This report suggests a definition for convenience foods used in the foodservice industry, discusses reasons for their growing importance, and reports the results of a survey of firms manufacturing these foods for the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) market.
Quite often different features come to mind when discussing convenience foods. For years, the food industry has been seeking a common definition for these products which could be used by manufacturers and consumers. Earlier studies of convenience foods have used the following generic description: "foods which have services added to the basic ingredients to reduce the amount of preparation required in the home."
Discussions with leaders in the food industry, social scientists, and USDA market research experts led to the use of the following definition for convenience foods for this report: "...fully or partially prepared dishes; foods in which significant amounts of preparation time, culinary skills, and energy inputs have been transferred from the kitchen of the foodservice operator to the food processor and distributor." This definition prefaced the mail survey and was used during personal interviews with members of the food processing industry. Respondents were asked to limit their comments to convenience products which had been introduced during 1968-73. By this approach, discussion was limited to the more recent convenience foods and excluded such staple convenience items as canned soup, sliced bread, and frozen concentrated orange juice.
Respondents to the survey were given the opportunity to express their own ideas of a convenience food. The properties most frequently mentioned were cost savings, time and labor reductions, heat-and-serve readiness, preprepared and frozen foods, and elimination of professional cooks. The "value added" idea was frequently a part of the industry's definition. However, respondents included one or more of the above features in their "value-added" concept.
1.1 Scope of the Study
This study is to highlight the uses of convenience foods in catering industry.
The research work is designed to provide a thorough and glaring understanding of the various types and uses of convenience foods in catering industry.
1.2 Limitations of the Study
The study of the uses of convenience foods in catering industry is intended to be completed and comprehensive, there where a number of constraints in terms of cost, data, resources, time in the collection of data.
Despite all these constraints, the study is considered feasible and promising. Moreover due to the extended nature of the topic, It was not possible to cover the whole uses of convenience foods in the hospitality industry.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study is to enlighten the entire populace most especially the staffs and employees of the catering industry on the uses of convenience foods in catering industry.
The project also lay emphasis on the benefit which the country and the staffs of the catering industry stand to gain from the uses of convenience foods, problems facing the hospitality industry to pay more attention to adoption of convenience food in the catering industry.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The man significance of this study includes the following:
- It will allow the staff to know the effectiveness of convenience foods
- It will educate the unskilled foods and beverage staff on the importance of using convenience foods.
- It will help the staff and employee of catering industry to know the impact of the uses of convenience foods in the industry.
1.5 Definitions of Terms
1.6.1 Fruit Juices: These are regarded as extracts of processed fruits which does not contain the addition of additives such as sugar or preservatives.
1.6.2 Fruit Drinks: These are regarded as the product obtained by the dilution of juices obtained from fruits and the addition of additives such as preservation, colorants and sugar.
1.6.3 Milk: It’s another terms define as the creamy whitish liquid produced from the mammary glands of mammals
1.6.4 Meat: Meat is the muscle derived from animals after slaughtering them. Meat can therefore be regarded as the post- mortem aspect of animal
1.6.5 Beverages: It is define as fluids that can be consumed without much preparation and are regarded as stimulant. It can either be alcoholic or non- alcoholic.
1.6.7 Butter and Margarine: Butter is a product that is obtained from the churning process of milk while margarine in a product that is obtained from the catalytic hydrogenation process of vegetable fat or oils.
1.6.8 Sugar: It can be described as sweetener. Sugar mainly consist of fructose and glucose
1.6.9 Dehydration: This is the method of removing excessive water from food substance to prolong its life time.