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Integrating Local Food Sources

Written by Emmanuella Owens, Jamaica Inn

As the global demand for food production increases so too does the scale of food production. This mass production of food and the increase in supplier sources has also created a distance between the consumer and supplier. Guests now demand more details about where their food is sourced, how food production affects the environment, the nutritional value of food and from this create a judgement about its quality. In an effort to bridge the knowledge gap, marketers have capitalized on the “organic” and “local food” trend, influencing consumers to purchase and consume locally produced fruits and vegetables.

The food and beverage industry has long supported the trend for locally grown food. Guests specifically request personalized food preferences such as a gluten free diet, vegetarian and organic food options. Organic locally grown food has become one of the determinants for fresh and healthy food with major restaurant and hotel brands offering customized menus to accommodate healthy food choices. As a result of this, the industry has recognized the importance of fostering good relationships with local purveyors. Here are some of the most common ways restaurants and hotels brands incorporate local or seasonal ingredients on their menus:

Support local farmers markets, many hotels actively support local farmers and suppliers by incorporating local food into the guest travel experience. Guests have the opportunity to learn about and sample fresh local ingredients on local farmer’s market tours. Executive chefs have now become “teachers of taste”, highlighting the history and combination of the foods they use in menu offerings. This process facilitates a holistic experience giving guests the complete picture of the food that is sourced and prepared for their consumption.

Be aware of local seasons, hotel brands that seek to support local produce only offer ingredients and dishes that are in season. Create unique menu offerings utilizing a combination of in season ingredients. Utilizing seasonal menu ingredients invites a whole host of new fruits, vegetables and seasonings for dish offerings, leading to truly diverse and creative menus.

Develop a sustainable food supply by working with local farmers, butchers, fishermen and other suppliers. Keep an up to date listing of purveyors by season with unique ingredient offerings. Encourage transparency with existing and new suppliers finding out where their foods are produced, how the food is packaged, transportation methods etc.

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