This year is all about the feel-good factor.  “Healthy options” are about to be transformed. By thinking outside of the box, we can dream up divine and unexpected dishes that are rich in nutrients, beautiful to look at and tasty too! 

The lettuce-based salad is out, and alternative veg and nutritional grains are in  like the millet used by Chef Jimena Solis in her signature Millet Malfatti dish. It’s important to develop a well rounded understanding of nutrition and wellbeing. We all have a responsibility to safeguard all aspects of human health, and that starts with the food we eat!



David Wright

The narrative around superfoods in recent years suggests there are only a few highly marketed foods that pack a rejuvenating punch. The truth is that our kitchens are full of foods that have the power to revive and restore.

“Our kitchens are full of foods that have the power revive  and restore

Let’s start with lentils. These little legumes can reduce the risk of a host of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. So whether you use them in a stew, salad or dip, lentils are definitely one to feature in your menu planning.

Eggs are also amazing – a nutritional hand grenade, often described as a ‘complete protein’, they contain all nine amino acids we need.

A fairly new product for diners is Kefir, but this microbe-rich dairy product has been fermented for over 2,000 years. These microscopic populations of bacteria are thought to be essential for improving digestion and lowering cholesterol. 

Watercress is related to mustard and is part of the brassica family of vegetables. It is eaten in many countries and spans most continents. Considered a ‘superfood’ because of its high content of antioxidants, it is particularly rich in beta carotene and vitamin C. Both the delicate green leaves and paler stems can be eaten either sautéed or fresh, and are great when mixed in soups, salads, tarts and omelettes. 

These are just a few examples, but if you consider similar ingredients for your menu, including lots of colorful vegetables and fermented foods, the health benefits cannot be underestimated!

  1. Understand the Relationship Between Nutrition and Wellbeing
    “The connection between nutrition and wellbeing all starts with the nutrient density of your dishes. Focus on how much nutrition each calorie delivers. The goal is to ensure that every calorie counts and contributes to nourishment.”
  2. Get Into Local Sourcing and Sustainability
    “Sourcing locally can offer fresher and higher-quality ingredients, but remember that sustainability is multifaceted. For example, a poorly farmed local cow fed on low quality grain is less sustainable than a responsibly farmed grass-fed animal transported from another part of the country.”
  3. Embrace Innovations in Food Production
    Utilize AI to analyze customer feedback and reviews, identifying trends and areas for improvement to continuously enhance the dining experience.
  4. Emphasize Plant-Based Ingredients
    “Plant-based foods are at the forefront of creating a healthier and more sustainable food system. Incorporate beans, lentils and legumes into your dishes as they are a great source of protein, nutrient-dense, sustainable,  and super versatile.”
  5. Explore the World of Mushrooms
    “Mushrooms are an amazing ingredient that can bring unique umami flavors to your dishes. They’re nutrient-dense, offer diverse flavor profiles, and are easy to incorporate into various recipes.”



Chef Sam Kass

Written by
Herman Clay

Since gaining national recognition for his role as personal chef to the Obamas during their time in the White House, Sam Kass has used his platform to transform the way we think about food, nutrition, and the role of chefs in promoting better eating habits. Here he offers five tips for striking the perfect balance between flavor and health in your cooking.


A lighter take on gnocchi by replacing half of the potato with tapioca flour, paired with a creamy tucupi béchamel with turmeric, and caramelized banana peel.

Chef Thaís Gimenez, Brazil

For casual Independent Restaurants
Cost (€) per portion: 1-2


Tapioca Gnocchi
  • 150g tapioca grains
  • 150g ground coalho cheese
  • 400g skim milk
  • 40g olive oil
  • 2g salt
  • 1g pepper
  • 120g Knorr Professional Potato Puree
  • 25g Maizena, for rolling gnocchi
  • 240g water
Tucupi Béchamel
  • 50g Knorr Professional Béchamel
  • 500g skim milk
  • 500g tucupi
  • 10g turmeric, powder
Banana Skin Caramel
  • 200g unripe banana peel
  • 150g brown sugar/turbinado sugar
  • 350g oat cream
  • 1 unit lemon
  • 1g salt
  • 25ml rum
  • 1g salt
  • 650g coalho cheese, rectangular sticks
Banana Tapioca Popcorn
  • 200g tapioca flocada
  • 5g Knorr Meu Tempero
  • 200g banana chips
  • 20g olive oil

For more information on these ingredients, click here


Tapioca Gnocchi

  • Boil the milk and add to a bowl with the tapioca granulada and ground cheese.
  • Let it hydrate for about 15 mins.
  • Prepare the potato puree: Add Knorr Professional Potato Puree to hot water, mix well and let it rest.
  • Add the puree to the hydrated, warm tapioca and mix well.
  • Dust the work surface with Maizena and divide the dough into 5 portions. Working with one piece at a time, use your hands and roll it out from the center into a rope that is about 2-cm wide.
  • Transfer the gnocchi to a baking sheet dusted with Maizena.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
  • Add the gnocchi and fry until golden.
  • Tip: Work with the tapioca dough while still warm so it’s easier to roll.

 Tucupi Béchamel

  • In a saucepan, boil the tucupi until reduced into half over low heat. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat the milk then add turmeric and Knorr Béchamel Sauce.
  • Whisk the mixture until smooth and thickened.
  • Add the reduced tucupi to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside.

Banana Skin Caramel

  • Peel bananas. Store the peels in a bag and freeze them for 24hrs.
  • In a saucepan, caramelize the brown sugar.
  • Cut the banana peels into medium pieces and add to the sugar.
  • Mix well and add salt, half of the cream, and rum. Bring it to the boil.
  • Add all the mixture to a blender with the lemon juice and the remaining cream.
  • In a skillet, grill all sides of the cheese.
  • Brush the grilled cheese with caramel.

Banana Tapioca Popcorn

  • Slice the peeled bananas then arrange them on a silicon mat.
  • Bake them for 20 mins at 160°C.
  • Remove from the oven then let them cool. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add tapioca flakes and fry them for 1 minute, covering all the flakes.
  • Add the Knorr Meu Tempero and the banana chips.

For Central Production Kitchens:

This recipe is a great concept for Ready Meals that can be frozen and stored. All components suit big-volume productions.

Tips and Substitutions

You can use plant-based milk or cheese for a 100% plant-based recipe.

“It’s a new twist on a traditional and well-loved dish with nutritious techniques applied to local ingredients like fermenting.”
Chef Thaís Gimenez


Operators struggle with food cost and more specifically, animal protein. At the same time, diners are becoming more conscious about their health and the environment. This recipe is a highly nutritious version of the classic malfatti served with a firewood-smoked and grilled vegetable sauce.

It provides a significant amount of wholesome ingredients like grains, nuts, and vegetables like chickpeas, millet, and spinach. It’s also lactose and gluten-free, and great for vegans and vegetarians.

Chef Jimena Solis, Argentina

For Casual Restaurants
Cost (€) per portion: 3-4



  • 300g raw millet
  • 15g Caldo Granulado de Verdura Knorr
  • 440g spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 125g Escama de Papa Deshidratada Knorr
  • 500g water, for the purée
  • 10g sunflower oil
  • 250g chickpea, cooked
  • 2g pepper, crushed
  • 5g lemon zest
  • 150g walnuts, toasted lemon zest
  • walnuts, toasted


  • 100g bagasse or leftover from vegetables
  • 100g sesame seeds
  • 50g whole grain sesame seeds
  • 1g salt
  • 1g crushed pepper

Smoked Sauce

  • 185g Base de Tomate Deshidratado Knorr
  • 1500g water
  • 200g red capsicum
  • 200g green capsicum
  • 200g yellow capsicum
  • 250g onion
  • 350g tomatoes
  • 1g chili
  • 500g charcoal
  • 200g wood chips
  • 2 pcs siphon charges
  • 20g agar-agar

For Central Production Kitchens:

The malfatti can be prepared ahead and frozen in bulk. Add the chickpea flour to the mix and knead until the dough is firm. Portion and freeze.

For more information on these ingredients, click here



  • Wash the millet and toast it slowly in a pan.
  • Cook the millet with the vegetable bouillon
  • (1L water + 15g granulated bouillon).
  • For the puree: Boil 500g water, add the sunflower oil and incorporate very slowly the dehydrated potato flakes. The puree needs to be firm in texture.
  • Chop the chickpeas in a mixer.
  • Toast the walnuts in the oven.
  • Chill all the ingredients and combine them (cooked millet + chickpea + puree). Add the lemon zest, the spinach finely chopped and the salt and pepper.
  • Shape them into balls – around 35g each.
  • Preheat the oven 200°C. Roast the balls for 5 mins or until golden in color.
  • Whole Recipe Cooked: Combine 625g millet + 250g puree + 250g chickpea puree + 440g spinach + 150g walnuts + 5g lemon zest.


  • Partially grind the seeds.
  • Add the bagasse to the seeds then add salt and crushed pepper.
  • Spread the mix on a silicone mat.
  • Bake at 90°C until dry and golden brown.

Smoked Sauce

  • Smoke the fresh vegetables with the wood chips and charcoal.
  • Mix all the smoked veggies.
  • Sift and set aside the bagasse.
  • For the tomato sauce: boil 1500g water and add the dehydrated tomato flakes.
  • Combine the smoked vegetable puree and the tomato sauce.
  • Heat the sauce and add the agar-agar.
  • Mix well and pour the sauce into a siphon. Charge it.

For Central Production Kitchens:

The malfatti can be prepared ahead and frozen in bulk. Add the chickpea flour to the mix and knead until the dough is firm. Portion and freeze.

“Charring of vegetables, combined with trendy and nutritious ingredients such as millet, gives this dish lots of umami and meaty flavors. Healthy dishes can definitely be tasty!”
Chef Jimena Solis


Flavor Shock
1. Google Keyword Planner, Mar 2018-Feb 2022

Local Abundance
2. Q4443 Trendsetter March 2022, UFS e-panel plus d-hoc, 19 countries, Base n=1,303

Low-Waste Menus
3. wfp.org 4. Q4443 Trendsetter March 2022, UFS e-panel plus ad-hoc, 19 countries, Base n=1,303

Modernized Comfort Food
5. Q4443 Trendsetter March 2022, UFS e-panel plus ad-hoc, 19 countries, Base n=1,303
6. What’s new on your menu?. April 2023. Kantar for Global UFS e-panel.

Plant-Powered Protein
7. Nielsen IQ Panelview, 2022
8. sciencedirect.com

Irresistible Vegetables
9. Unilever Regenerati


Created by TCO London

Photography: Remko Kraaijeveld (food), Charmaine Wu (chefs) Recipes: Unilever Food Solutions Chefs 

Food Styling: Chef Maurits van Vroenhoven 

Recipe Editing: Chef Thais Gimenez, Chef Michael Yamashita

Research Studies: Daniel Quinn, Elspeth Edwards, and Charlotte McDonald of The Forge London, Unilever Food Solutions Consumer Marketing Insights, Kantar 

Expert Insights: Chef Sam Kass, Patrick Chan, Sana Minhas, Christian Weij, Unilever Food Solution Chefs 

Special thanks to: Chef Eric Chua, Unilever Food Solutions Singapore


The Future Menus 2024 Trend Report by Unilever Food Solutions was compiled from robust global data and extensive chef inputs, including industry reports of leading third-party sources (Kantar, Firmenich, Symrise, IFF, The Forge, CMJ-PDC), social media analytics using 77,000 keywords representing 69 million searches across more than 21 countries, perspectives from UFS’ 250 professional chefs and in-depth feedback of more than 1,600 chef professionals located in 21 markets worldwide via UFS e-panels. These insights have been translated into practical, action-driven solutions for foodservice operators globally, including recipe ideas, techniques, and ingredient solutions that operators can use on their menus.