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Cooked Tomatoes. Your Menu’s Perfect SUPER Food.

February 16, 2021



There is a lot more to the food that we eat than just flavor. Today’s consumers seek healthy benefits from their menu ingredients. While ingredients such as kale and quinoa trade flavor for healthy benefits, the amazing tomato is universally loved and an often overlooked super food.

A 2019 Datassential report found that tomato-based “red sauce” is on the menu of 60% of all foodservice operations and is an essential ingredient for everything from pasta and pizza to enchilada sauce.

While your red sauce is likely a menu mainstay, don’t overlook the fact that it’s also a superfood when you heat the humble tomato magic happens!

Heating tomatoes for 30 minutes boosts the levels of absorbable lycopene by 35%. The study found that it raised the total power of the disease-fighting antioxidant by 62%.

According to a landmark study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, heating tomatoes for 30 minutes at 190.4° F (the temperature of soup simmering on the stove) boosted the levels of absorbable lycopene. The Lycopene antioxidant gives red tomatoes their rosy color. The study found that heating tomatoes raised the total power of the disease-fighting antioxidant by 62%. Tomatoes also contain other antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, that help fight cell damage resulting in cancer, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

Datassential surveyed consumers and foodservice operators alike in 2019 and found that 21% of consumers are eating more “Red Sauce” at home and that 25% of operators are buying more Red Sauce for their menus. Thus, the love affair between America taste buds for cooked tomatoes and their health benefits continues to grow.

Datassential also reports that 90% of consumers say that what they eat and drink plays directly into their sense of “well-being”.

Cooked tomatoes contain a good dose of vitamin C, and the cooking process doesn’t destroy this important nutrient. A 1-cup serving of cooked tomatoes supplies 18.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 20 percent of a person’s daily needs. A 1-cup serving of cooked tomatoes provides 1.07 milligrams of iron, which is about 12% of what men need each day and 5% for women. The same serving contains small amounts of calcium for strong bones, potassium for a healthy heart and vitamin A for proper eye function. Marinara, Pizza, Spaghetti, and Enchilada sauce as well as Salsa and Ketchup share in these healthy benefits.

Whether your segment is healthcare, senior living or a commercial restaurant, your operation will benefit by leveraging the functional benefits of Red Sauces as an ingredient to boost your position as a purveyor of superfoods. Is it time for you to add more of these superfoods to your menu?

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