Case Studies • Polished Casual
Extended Fry Life Supports an Extended Menu
The Omega-9 Oils team partnered with a national polished casual-dining restaurant chain with an extensive menu. Many plates include fried items, from “drop and fry” items such as fries and potstickers, to signature hand-breaded chicken, shrimp and fish. The excess moisture and breading from these hand-battered items causes more rapid degradation of the frying oil, which drove interest in and support of a fry test.
The trial compared their current oil, commodity soybean, with a blend of Omega-9 Canola and corn oil. This blend was selected by the culinary team to ideally deliver both extended fry life and flavor. Historically, the food industry has used flavorful oils, such as corn and peanut, to add flavor to food. By using neutral flavored, high-stability oil, such as Omega-9 Canola, the flavor of the food itself is allowed to shine through as well. Success metrics for the tests included fry life, overall oil cost, sustainability and flavor/quality of the products over a pre-determined period across multiple stores.
The test also included a focus on two operation drivers of extended shelf life:
Skimming: This simple process removes loose food particles in the oil. When particles from fried foods — more common with hand-battered items — are left in the oil between fry cycles, they overcook in the hot oil. Over time, this leads to premature oil breakdown which will influence the quality of the fried food.
Discard Driver: The team shifted from oil color to food color and quality as the driver of discard. Oil color can be a measure of fry life, but as it is influenced by what foods are fried in oil as well as oil degradation, food color and quality are better metrics.
POSITIVE IMPACTS OF TEST
With over 200 menu items offered every day, Omega-9 Oils were a solution that extended fry life while driving profit and satisfaction.
v Fry Life and Cost Savings
The impact of the test was immediate — within the three-week test, stores shifted from a two to three day fry life to five to seven days of fry life. Taking the most conservative shift from three to five days shelf life (67 percent increase in fry life), annual savings would equate to over $1 million a year. These savings are driven by a 40 percent reduction in oil usage, which offsets the premium paid for Omega-9 Oils.
These striking results could be even further improved by using 100 percent Omega-9 Oils rather than as part of a blend.
v Food Quality, Nutrition and Sustainability
Food Quality: General and kitchen managers from all test stores provided anecdotal feedback from their staff and their guests. Staff noted food was:
- less greasy
- no aftertaste when made with the test oil
Nutrition: With menu labeling regulations on the horizon, both operators and consumers are focused more than ever on the nutritional values of their restaurant choices. With the shift in oils, the saturated fat contribution from the chain’s frying was reduced by almost 30 percent.
Sustainability: The reduction in oil use also drives a reduction in packaging. The decreased usage would reduce the number of JIBs used by 80,000 per year.