beef strips

Foodservice and Ketogenic Diets

What the keto diet means for foodservice.

keto grilled chicken dishKeto dieters focus on foods that are high in fat, offer a quality source of protein and are low in carbohydrates. When it comes to sugar, other than what naturally occurs in foods like fruits, the keto diet avoids all forms of it. While the diet itself if quite strict; creating dishes that fit within it using commonly stocked foodservice products is relatively easy. Developing a well rounded and flavorful dish will be a bigger challenge than sourcing the actual ingredients.

Keto-focused food and recipe search requests have increased significantly over the past 4 years. Due in some part to a resurgence in popularity among a new generation of dieters. The foundation for ketogenic dieting has actually been around since the1920s. It was developed by Dr. Russell Wilder in 1923 as a treatment for epilepsy. It called for 90 percent of calories to come from fat, 6 percent from protein and 4 percent from carbohydrates.

keto search term growth chart
“Keto Recipes” Search Growth >4 Years (Note the spikes in January)

Your guests might be interested in keto dishes for weight loss, supplementing physical fitness or for other health related reasons. Another reason is simply lifestyle choice; a choice that is certainly being influenced by business interests with deep pockets.

The Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Target, Walmart and other big retailers are stocking and marketing oodles keto related products and supplements. When a diet rises in popularity you can be sure a stream of products will follow ready to cash in. Why shouldn’t you?

The keto diet isn’t just one of the latest diet “fads” to go mainstream. It’s also a reason customers will be coming through your door asking for very specific foods. The keto craze is being stoked by businesses looking to capitalize on it. These companies are essentially doing the “awareness” marketing and advertising for you. All you need to do is call out the keto-friendly dishes on your menu, or have a separate list available.

To start developing keto-specific offerings… Review your menu for the best dishes to be keto converted; stripped of carbohydrates (sugars, grains, starchy vegetables, etc.) Search your pantry for ingredients that offer healthy fats and protein, and search for inspiration. Round out your selection by creating dishes for different dayparts and often-overlooked categories when it comes to special diets; like brunch, appetizers and desserts.

With no insult intended toward the taste or nutrition of the products being sold by major retailers — your freshly prepared and diet-aware dish has the opportunity to be a savored meal compared to some of the foods sold for ketogenic lifestyles.

Find Keto-Friendly Foodservice Products