The Local Food Movement is gaining more and more relevance on restaurant menus and in retail outlets. Restaurateurs, chefs, marketing and purchasing departments would do well to take notice of what is happening nationwide. “Locavores” are changing the way we think about our food as they dedicate themselves to consuming locally produced and sourced foods. Retail outlets now offer produce and goods from their own farms or from local farmers who supply everything from vegetables and fruits to proteins like free-range chickens, organic eggs and more.

The Local Movement is a natural culmination of the “Slow Food” movement which began in Turin, Italy, in the eighties. It has now expanded greatly to other countries and is gaining more and more acceptance here in the states. Slow food is now called “local” and the people enjoying them are called “Locavores.” This is an interesting marketing term used to describe something that is more than just buying locally; it is an entire philosophy on how to live your life. Slow Food, Locavore, Sustainability, Organic and Natural all go hand in hand. It is not just about eating but a holistic, balanced approach to living and a dedication to respect and preserve the bio-diversity of our local communities.

So why should the restaurant industry look locally? It is rapidly becoming a “must have” on menus. Stating the origins of ingredients creates tremendous good will with your customer. It is not always possible to get everything local, but just a few clearly stated items can have an amazing impact on the entire menu.

As Americans become more environmentally conscious, local products travel a shorter distance, utilizing fewer resources, especially gas. According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, roughly 6 to 12 cents of every dollar spent on food consumed in the home represents transportation costs.

“The American family farmer is a vanishing breed – fewer than 1,000,000 people (less than 1%) of Americans claim farming as a primary occupation. It’s no wonder: it’s hard to make a living when you get less than 10 cents of every retail food dollar. By buying locally, the middleman disappears and the farmer gets full retail price, in turn helping farmers continue to farm.” This is a statement that all consumers will respect and which can create an emotional connection to a particular restaurant regardless of the type of food they serve.

Less processing means better taste. When buying local, food is fresher. Fresh simply tastes better and the health perception of fresh and local creates an entire halo effect on your entire menu.

“Eat well.”

Tony Lagana

Culinary Systems Inc

Windermare, Florida 34786


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