7 Food Hacks Learned From Behind the Cart

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7 Food Hacks Learned From Behind the Cart

By Ryan James Dee - 10/19/2017

We're in the business of samples. In fact, we serve billions of them every year to consumers around the globe. And we've been doing it for nearly 30 years. Sampling food for that long, and with an army of 45,000 brand ambassadors and sales advisers, you pick up a few tricks along the way. Here are some of the best food hacks we've learned from behind the cart, which food retailers can adapt for their own sampling programs:

  1. Ending taco spills: Tired of biting into a taco, only to have half of the contents fall out? Before filling tacos, mix all of the toppings together and then fill the shells. This solves the issue of toppings falling out, which usually happens when you place lighter toppings (e.g., lettuce, cheese, tomatoes) on top. It also ensures that you get all of the flavors in each bite. It might not look better than a traditional taco, but the taste is more consistent and there’s less mess.
  2. Spreading toppings on bread: Fresh bread is great. It's also very soft. To make sure that you don’t massacre the bread, use the back of a teaspoon to spread things like peanut butter, jelly, or butter over the slice instead of a knife. This way, you can move the spread evenly over the slice without worrying about digging into the bread.
  3. Slicing with floss: Have you ever gone to slice something really soft and ended up mashing it instead? The solution for this is not in the kitchen, but the medicine cabinet. Dental floss is great for cutting soft foods such as cake, soft cheese and dough. The floss has far less surface than a knife for the food to stick to, thereby eliminating the possibility of its getting dragged down as you cut it.
  4. Frosting for all: Who doesn’t love a cupcake? Don’t you wish that every bite had a bit of frosting, though? To fix the cupcake-to-frosting ratio, tear off the bottom of the cupcake and invert it onto the top half, creating a frosting sandwich. Now samplers' hands won't get as messy and they won't be left with a bottom chunk of cake without frosting.
  5. Mastering wasabi: It may surprise consumers that sushi chefs have been silently judging them every time they mix wasabi into their soy sauce. Instead, instruct sushi samplers take a bit of wasabi with their chopsticks and place it onto the flat side of a slice of sashimi, and then fold the sashimi over and pick it up with the chopsticks to dip the bite into the soy sauce. This way, they control how much wasabi is in every bite, and they'll put an end to the silent shaming.
  6. Stopping ice cream cone drips: Ice cream belongs in a cone, but by the time you get to the end, your hand is dripping with the stuff that fell out of the bottom. To fix this, place a small marshmallow in the bottom of the cone and place ice cream and toppings on top as usual. The marshmallow will act as a plug to prevent the ice cream from draining out of the bottom, leaving samplers to enjoy their ice cream at their own pace, without the race.
  7. Solving the sandwich slide: How many times have you bit into a sandwich or a burger, only to have part of it go one way and the other part another? Slippery toppings such as tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese are often the culprits. To solve for this, you need friction. Adding sprouts or rough greens like arugula will add just the right amount of texture to keep things in place.

Ryan James Dee is creative director at San Diego-based Interactions, part of brand strategy and consulting firm Daymon.