Getting creative with café menus

creative café menus

Maltra Foods on how its new summer range is meeting the needs of Australian hospitality businesses post-COVID, while helping them get creative with their café menus and stay relevant to market trends.

Remaining one step ahead of the pack not only requires innovation and awareness, but creativity. Maltra Foods, through its Arkadia brand, is one such company who is supporting hospitality venues in this pursuit with its new range of powdered and liquid bases for food and beverages.

“Our products are really diverse and can be combined in any number of ways to create a menu like no other,” says Nathan Alfrey, Maltra Foods’ Brand Manager. 

“Every venue has their own way of doing things and their own ethos, so we want to make it as easy as possible for venues to make sure they stand out.” 

Maltra Foods is one of Australia’s largest food-grade powder and liquid manufacturers, founded in Melbourne in 1997. Beginning with a focus on powdered drinking chocolate, the family-run business has since expanded its product range to a complete menu offering, including syrups, frappes, smoothies, milkshake toppings, and dessert sauces that are exported to more than 20 countries across the world. 

“We’re 100 per cent Australian owned and create all our products domestically,” says Nathan. 

“We’re seeing more and more distributors and venues value locally-made products as we emerge from COVID, especially with how difficult international shipping has become.” 

This includes every area across Maltra Foods’ supply chain, from its ingredients such as its locally-grown sugar to its Australian blown bottles, labels, and cartons. 

“There’s also the team working their socks off at Maltra’s liquids manufacturing plant in Queensland who control the quality process and finished product to make sure it is the best product possible for the local market,” says Nathan. 

“The whole supply chain wins when you source locally.”  

creative café menus
Maltra Foods’ liquid and powder products can be mixed to create a gourmet menu.

One product that has seen great demand is Maltra Foods’ Chocolate Sauce. 

“This is perfect for Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) or cafés as it comes in a convenient two-litre pump bottle and can be used with hot and cold drinks or as a dessert topping,” he says.

“Our powdered chocolate range, is huge with cocoa levels ranging between 20 to 65 per cent and options for single-origin cocoa blends that are Fairtrade and Organic certified.”

Maltra Foods’ chocolate range can also be used to meet special dietary requirements with gluten free and vegan friendly options.  

While helping venues to differentiate themselves, Maltra Foods’ products still meet market demands, including Natural Flavours and Natural Colours.

“QSRs have been under the microscope for years with building pressure to improve their nutritional values on their menus and remove additives,” Nathan says.

“Being able to promote their beverages with no artificial colours or flavours is an excellent way for them to keep up with modern consumer demands and stay relevant.” 

This push for higher nutrients is also reflected in Maltra Foods’ Real fruit Smoothie bases where cafés can choose from products that contain between 40 to 60 per cent fruit content.

“These products remove the hassle for preparing, storing, and in some cases, freezing fresh fruit, as well as the mess and waste this process creates,” he says. “It meets the needs of people looking to add more fruit to their diet while they’re on the go, and is perfect for convenience-based foodservice venues.” 

Consisting of almost 30 flavours, Maltra Foods’ syrup portfolio helps clients to get creative with their menu, with options from watermelon and passionfruit to macadamia and gingerbread, salted caramel and butterscotch. These can be combined in countless offerings from spritzers like strawberry and coconut, to frappes such as matcha and mocha, or combining syrups with traditional café menu items like coffee or chocolate drinks. 

The brand’s newest addition includes organic tea-based syrups in black tea, lemon, and peach flavour, which is designed to meets the growing demand for tea in cold formats, driven by younger consumers’ changing tastes and pop culture trends.

“It’s perfect for cafés and QSRs looking to offer refreshing summer drinks, from cocktails to spritzers to any cold milk combination,” Nathan says. 

Using these syrups requires minimal training and can be used by low-skilled staff, which is handy for venues who employ younger staff. 

“Any business today will tell you that finding good quality, experienced staff is incredibly hard due to the border closures and people leaving the industry. Being able to simplify the process of making cold beverages makes life easier for these businesses,” he says. 

Younger consumers have also been driving demand for cold brew beverages with Market Research Future, an international market research company, predicting the global industry value to reach $877 million by 2027. 

“Adding a dash of flavoured syrup to cold brews helps make them more appealing to these customers who want a caffeine hit but like the added sweetness,” says Nathan. “While vanilla and caramel are classic choices, with Maltra Foods offering we’ve seen a growing demand for flavours like lychee, coconut, and strawberry.” 

As businesses push to recover from COVID-19, earning high margins also becomes important. With 30 millilitres of Maltra Foods’ syrups able to be converted into a six-dollar beverage by adding ice, water, and a garnish, the rise of soda taps and Spritzers also means even greater cost savings for venues. 

With a multitude of liquid and powder options, Maltra Foods has no plans to stop growing, with the brand already predicting to expand its syrup portfolio to 45 flavours in 2022. 

“We work hard with our sales and R&D team to find the highest quality ingredients and craft the best recipes. We don’t have the same heritage as some of the European imports, so we have to be better and different, which is why we offer something for everyone under Maltra Foods,” says Nathan. 

“Maltra Foods is known for its taste and we stand by that with all our new summer beverage bases. Put simply, if it doesn’t taste as good or better than the market leaders, we don’t put our name to it.” 

For more information, visit and

This article appears in the December 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

Send this to a friend