Restaurant chefs and food purchasing managers who have bought local foods in the past are more likely to continue adding them to menus and store shelves, according to a team of researchers. “Past experiences will have an impact on buying local foods,” said Amit Sharma, associate professor of hospitality management, Penn State. “Restaurant managers who buy local foods currently are significantly more likely to keep purchasing locally.” In a study of the cost and benefits of purchasing locally grown foods in restaurants, managers and chefs indicated that certain actions of producers stand out as reasons why they continue to buy locally grown foods. Managers said that a local farmer’s or producer’s response time was more important than delivery time as a factor when they considered buying local food products. Food purchasers also indicated that they would not stock local food just because it is local. Local foods must have a unique selling point. For instance, a special variety apple used in an apple pie may be more important to the food manager than just a locally grown apple.
This article appears in the August 2014 issue of Acres U.S.A.