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Top 22 Reasons Local Foods should be used in Nigerian’s Fast Food

One of the hottest menu trends is local foods.

It has dominated the National Restaurant Association’s annual Culinary Forecast for several years in a row.

Local foods, slow food, farm to table, farm to fork.

There are many names and trends associated with buying from local farms and growers which can be confusing for consumers.

For restaurants, there are definite benefits as well as challenges to incorporating local foods into their regular menu.

Benefits of Local Foods

Offering local foods on your restaurant menu offers many benefits, from helping to pump up the local economy to boosting flavor and nutritional value of the food you serve.

Consumers are far savvier about where their food comes from, and local foods have a great appeal for many.

Over the past several years local foods have become one of the hottest menu trends for restaurants.

While serving local foods can pose some challenges for restaurants, especially those who live in colder climates.

It is possible to offer local foods all year long, through established relationships with local farmers.

Understand the Difference between Local, Sustainable and Organic Foods

Local – Local foods are, well, local. They are grown or produced locally, usually on a small scale.

Local foods have made a big comeback in menu trends for restaurants.

Not offering only superior taste over their commercial counterparts, but also a marketing tool.

Local foods go beyond fruits and vegetables.

They can include beef, chicken, seafood, dairy products, even beer.

Sustainable – According to small farming expert, sustainable foods have three components: sustainable agriculture have three components; They are:

  • ecologically sound
  • it is economically viable
  • socially and economically equitable

Lauren also gives some good advice to small farmers looking to sell their food to a local restaurant.

Organic – In 1990, the FDA passed the Organic Foods Production Act, which helped identify food that is certified organically grown, versus food that wears an organic label just for marketing purposes.

As part of this act, a National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) was established, outlining practices, materials, and ingredients that may be used in organic farming and production operations.

The List also highlights non-synthetic substances, materials, and ingredients that cannot be used.

For a food to be sanctioned as officially organic, it must be labeled with a USDA Organic Seal.

It’s important to remember that organic foods do not equate locally grown (nor do locally grown foods mean they are organic).

Speak with your local farmers about the feed and pesticides they use on their farms.

Many small farmers practice organic farming practices, but are not certified.

Nigerian's Fast Food

Menu Trends and Local Foods

The What’s Hot Chef’s Survey, released each year by the National Restaurant Association, rates local foods as THE trend of 2018.

Local foods, coupled with terms like artisan, handmade, home brewed, heirloom are the new menu marketing tools.

Challenges of Using Local Foods at Your Restaurant

The two biggest challenges of using local foods are cost and availability.

There is no question about it, local foods cost more money than those grown by huge corporate farms.

However, restaurants still have the advantage of buying in bulk.

Speak with your local farmers about what crops they grow.

And how much they can supply.

Ordering a large amount of a local ingredient can help reduce the price.

Marketing your menu with local foods can help consumers be okay with paying more for foods.

Because most places don’t have access to local foods all year round.

Especially fresh fruits and vegetables, restaurants that use local foods have to be nimble and flexible when it comes to their menu.

You can offer local foods all year long by freezing fresh produce.

Like berries or herbs, and incorporating them into recipes later on.

Ditto for beef, poultry and other local game.

Farm to Restaurant Movement

More and restaurants are turning to their local neighbors for fresh, flavorful foods.

Local foods are finding their way to all kinds of different restaurants.

From fine dining to casual sandwich shops.

Here are top twenty two reasons your restaurant can benefit from buying local foods.

Top 22 Reasons Local Foods should be used in Nigerian’s Fast Food

Nigerian's Fast FoodNigerian's Fast FoodNigerian's Fast Food

1. Local foods are fresh

According to LocalHarvest.org, the average commute for fruit and vegetables in the United States is 1500 miles.

Yikes! For that reason commercially grown fruit and veggies are engineered to withstand travel over long distances. Local foods travel a fraction of that distance and still maintain their appearance, taste and nutrients, without any bioengineering. And good looking food is a good thing, since customers eat with their eyes first.

2. Local foods taste better

Anyone with a garden can attest to this fact.

Just like homemade bread beats the store bought variety, wholesale vegetables and fruits just don’t compare to local garden goods.

3. Local foods support local economies

As a restaurant owner, it never hurts to support your local economy.

You not only keep your money local.

You also foster relationships with other business people in your neighborhood. Never a bad a idea.

4. Local foods are great for restaurant marketing

Add terms like farm-fresh or locally grown to a menu description and watch the items fly out of the kitchen.

I’ve never heard a customer complain about eating food from local farms or gardens.

Using local foods can be a major selling point for restaurants.

5. Local foods let you be creative with your menu

Because local foods are based on the seasons, restaurants need to rotate their menu items, based on availability.

And that can be a good thing.

What better way to come up with daily specials, than looking at the ingredients at the local farmers market?

6. Local foods aren’t as expensive as you think

While few small farms can compete with wholesale food distributors for steep discounts.

Their prices aren’t always that much higher.

And when you take in consideration the higher quality of produce, you are really getting more bang for your restaurant food cost buck.

Some areas offer Restaurant Supported Agriculture (RSAs) which are similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture) offering buying discounts and other tangible benefits for restaurants.

7. Local foods don’t stop with fruits and vegetables

Long after the growing season is finished you can still find plenty of local foods to add to your restaurant menu. Poultry, beef and pork are available year round, as is honey and dairy products. Even baked goods, like breads and desserts, can be showcased as local foods.

8. Local foods protect the environment

Tree hugging aside, local foods are generally easier on the environment than large-scale farms. They use less energy for harvesting and transportation and many small farms are organic (but not all) and don’t use pesticides, hormones or other chemicals.

Buying local foods is just one way that restaurants can go green.

9. Local foods preserve the countryside

Small farms, once a trademark of the United States, are a dying breed.

Too many farmers are forced out of farming and their fields are chopped up into housing subdivisions or strip malls. Supporting local farmers helps keep them in business, which in turns keeps the countryside intact, preventing your town from becoming Anytown, USA.

  1. Local foods offer more variety

Small farms offer unique produce that are often unsuited for commercial food growing. Restaurants can choose from hundreds of heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, adding more flavors and colors to their restaurant menu.

  • Meat: beef, veal, pork, lamb
  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck
  • Fish: Trout, pickerel, perch
  • Eggs
  • Legumes: beans, lentils
  • Dairy: cheese and milk
  • Honey, wine and maple syrup too

11. Buying local saves money

Food produced close to home is often a good buy. Plan meals around what’s in season to help you save. For example, eat locally produced asparagus often in the spring when it’s in season, priced best and tastes terrific. Some locally produced food like eggs, milk and beans are good buys all year long. Did you know?  Canning or freezing is another way to take advantage of well-priced seasonal vegetables and fruit.  It’s also a great way to eat local all year long.

12. Local Foods Are Seasonal (and Taste Better)

It must be said: Deprivation leads to greater appreciation.

When does a cozy room feel best? When you’ve come in from being out in the freezing cold.

In-season, locally grown tomatoes burst with flavor that’s easy to forget if you only eat ones that are artificially ripened with gas.

Strawberries fresh from the field make the long-shipped specimens of winter seem hardly worth the effort to chew them.

Fresh corn in-season tastes best when you haven’t eaten any in 9 or 10 months—long…
13. Local Foods Promote Food Safety

The fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table the less chance there is of contamination.

Also, when you know where your food comes from and who grows it, you know a lot more about that food.

During the e. Coli outbreak in spinach in 2006 I knew the spinach in my refrigerator was safe because I knew it was grown in Yolo County by a farmer I knew, and, as importantly, that it didn’t come from Salinas County where the outbreak was.

14. Local Foods Promote Variety

Local foods tend to create a greater variety of foods. Farmers who run community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), sell at farmers markets, and provide local restaurants have the demand and hence the economic support for raising more types of produce and livestock. This leads to Brandywines, Early Girls, and Lemon Boys instead of “tomatoes.”

  1. Local foods promote food safety.

Less distance between your food’s source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination.

16. FRESHNESS AND NUTRITION

Locally grown crops are harvested at their peak, often arriving at the market within 24 hours of picking.

So you can be sure you’re getting the freshest produce from farm to table.

Unlike supermarket produce, which has been harvested early and spent weeks in cold storage, local food has a higher nutrient value.

So eating food that’s in season is full of flavour and better for you.

Organic & Quality Foods ensure our farmer fresh produce is kept at the optimum temperature throughout the whole process.

  1. Local food has more nutrients.

Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.

18. Locally grown food is full of flavor.

When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store.

Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.

19. It Supports Diet-Related Conditions

For people with food sensitivities to preservatives, hormones or other food chemicals, locally grown food is a great option. Locally grown food can help support any possible digestion issues that people with food allergies may experience with other types of food.

20. It Encourages Eating a Well-Balanced Diet

When you choose to buy locally grown food, you can incorporate more healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet, as opposed to choosing processed and packaged foods that don’t provide a balanced diet.

21. It Improves Food Safety

Food safety is another growing concern, especially for families with young children and seniors.

Food safety refers to a food’s level of contamination risk.

With imported food, it can pass through several different hands before it reaches your kitchen.

Increasing the chance of contamination.

22. It Promotes Accountability

When food is raised and grown locally, the consumer better understands how and where their food is being produced.

This awareness encourages local farmers to use sustainable agriculture practices and be more accountable to safe ecological practices.

Which may include not using pesticides or implementing systems that are less resource intensive than commercial agriculture.

Many local food producers will actively pursue an organic certification as a means of further improving the nutritional value of their food and reducing their environmental impact.

Conclusion:

Choosing to purchase locally grown food is an important way to support your local economy.

Contribute to your community, improve your health and do your part to protect the environment.

Getting involved in the local food system helps us to gain back the separation we created between humans and food production.

Many of us today, including children, don’t have the same awareness about food that we did before modern agriculture practices.

Because of this, people are looking to repair their detachment from food production and actively learn more about their local food economy.

If you make small weekly purchases from local food producers, your money and support can go a long way toward strengthening your local food system.


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