Food Trend Spotlight: Combating Rising Inflation

As costs have risen for foodservice operators, balancing budgetary considerations with culinary creativity can seem virtually impossible, but there is a simple, whole-food ingredient that can help you improve your bottom line while amplifying flavor. The time is right to make your menu offerings go further with lentils.

Rising global inflation has sent food costs skyrocketing over the past year, with a forecast that shows inflation rates taking just a slight dip throughout the remainder of 2023 [1]. In August 2022, 38% of foodservice operators identified inflation as their greatest challenge, ahead of both labor shortages and supply chain disruption. More than 63% of operators said that rising food costs were their most pressing inflation concern, with food costs up 17% on average [2].

Lentils can offer a solution to balancing food costs with high amounts of protein and fiber, great adaptability, and a highly economical ingredient choice for your bottom line. Consider replacing a portion of animal protein with lentils, as in this blended lentil-beef burger recipe. This lentil-blended patty has added fiber, less fat, 12% fewer calories than its standard lean beef counterpart, and it also boasts a lighter carbon, water, and land-use footprint. Lentil blends can reduce production costs by up to 26% and still offer as much protein as traditional burgers, which is particularly relevant during times of rising inflation when animal proteins like beef and chicken see the highest cost increase. 

Lentils also pair well with quinoa or other grains, making a hearty blend that can serve as the base for a bowl or an entree salad. By adding lentils in a 50/50 dry blend with quinoa, you can cut the cost of that base roughly in half. [3] What’s more, lentils add nutrient density. A ½-cup serving of lentils has 12 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, which helps meet the consumer desire for satiety with cost-effective whole-food plant ingredients that absorb the flavors of any dish.

The Chicken Street Corn Salad at Twin Peaks is an excellent example that highlights how lentils can bolster standard fare to satisfy big appetites. This salad uses animal-based protein (chicken and bacon) as a garnish but adjusts the meat portions down, while the protein and fiber combination from the lentils keeps consumers full. This retains the high overall value of the dish with a resulting food cost that is more economical for the business owner. This best-selling dish also works well because it uses a familiar flavor profile to introduce lentils to a wide base of consumers, encouraging repeat purchases and creating brand loyalty.

James Bickmore-Hutt, corporate chef for, likes to say that in just one SKU, lentils offer versatility, cost-effectiveness, and consistency. “They are an affordable source of plant-based protein, and they also have a long shelf life as a dry pantry ingredient. The ability to bring in a shelf-stable source of protein is important in an environment where storage is fluctuating day to day,” says Bickmore-Hutt. “For those who need value-added options, pre-cooked lentils are available to add convenience to the same nutrient-rich product. You can reach out to our team to learn more about these options.”  

Looking for more lentil inspiration? Check out our kitchen cheat sheet to demystify all the guesswork of cooking with lentils. If you’re ready to learn more, reach out to our team at to learn how lentils can lower your production costs now.

[1] International Monetary Fund, “Inflation Peaking Amid Low Growth
[2] Datassential, One Table Report 2022
[3] Pulse Canada