Why Restos Like ‘Starch-On-Starch’ Fad

I’ve posted about this new fast food fad before, and I complained that it’s not really healthy. Nevertheless, folks are eating it up. Now, I’ve been twigged to a new dimension of the phenomenon: Desperate resto operators have realized they can make tons of money offering Starch-on-Starch menu items…

Mac 'n Cheese Pizza - © theodysseyonline.comMac ‘n Cheese Pizza: Maybe the worst of the worst Starch-on-Starch dishes…

I was surfing my usual food news sites this morning and I came upon another ‘new’ Starch-on-Starch menu item. I can’t remember who was offering it, but it was a major chain. This time, it’s a Burrito stuffed with Fries, along with token amounts of Ground Beef, Cheese Sauce and other thinks you’d expect to find in a Tex-Mex hand food. The problem is, the stuffing is mainly Fries. And that, along with the Flour Tortilla, makes this one heavy meal. It’s also not nutrient-rich, as the dieticians love to point out: Very little variety in its components and an emphasis on ingredients that are not rich in essential nutrients.

Other members of the Starch-on-Starch ‘family’ include dishes Spaghetti Pizza and the Spaghetti Burger. There have been similar variants employing Lasagna and Ramen. Fettucini Alfredo Pizza is just ole of many so-called ‘Pizzas’ cropping up these days, topped with Starches – predominantly Fries and Mac and Cheese. Think about it: a Pizza topped with Mac and Cheese is nothing more than a giant Carbs Bomb! It may taste good and go down smooth. But it’s really not good for you. For anyone, really.

Why the industry interest in Starch-on-Starch?

Because it’s easy to make and really cheap to serve. Simple as that.

Fast Food purveyors have known for decades that Potatoes – in any form – are the cheapest thing they can put on a plate. Anything based on Flour – whether it’s Bread, Pizza Crust, Tortillas or Pasta – can be marked up bigtime producing the biggest profit margins in the food service business. Well, the margins on Beverages are even bigger, but that’s another story.

“Cheese if expensive!” I hear you protest. “There’s Cheese in all these Starch-on-Starch yummies! And, surely, Cheese it nutritious, even of the Starches are not…”

True, to some extent. But take into account that the ‘Cheese’ or ‘Nacho’ Sauces are often based on ‘American’ Cheese, which itself is not pure Cheese. In fact, ‘American’ Cheese is a mixture of old-dated Cheddar and other Cheeses, colouring, Milk solids, Vegetable Oil and preservatives, all cooked up together until it reaches the desired shade of Orange and that old familiar gooey consistency.

Anyway…

I can’t endorse the Starch-on-Starch fad. It only benefits the resto operators who employ it to boost their profits. I agree, that resto owners need all the help they can get, to make even a meager profit these days. But to make it on the backs of customers by compromising their health is as absurd as it is desperate. And it’s not a sustainable business model.

What’s going to save he small restos and big Fast Food chains is the inevitable shake out that I predict will take place in the early 2020s. It may  already have started with the recent acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings by Arby’s. The weak are falling prey to the strong. Likewise, the ranks of small one-off eateries will soon thin themselves as the newer, weaker and copy-cat establishments fail and the older, better-entrenched original-concept joints prove their staying power.

We’ll keep coming back to this theme over time, to the the validity of my predictions…

~ Maggie J.

Posted under: Chef Secrets, Comfort Food, Food News, Food Tips, Foodie Life Lessons

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