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As we try to manage what goes into our bodies more than ever before, the uncomfortable reality is that we have very little idea of where the food we eat every day is coming from and what is actually in it.
Our obsession with consuming delicious food is now being combined with remaining healthy and the need to find new sustainable ways of feeding and saving the planet.
These necessities have made the importance of buying local produce higher than ever before. So here are Search Hospitality & Catering’s top five reasons why you should shop for more local produce.
Produce that is purchased in your supermarket has often been cold-stored or in transit on lorries and boats for days or even weeks. These are often cheaper imported goods from overseas bred specifically for a specific quality e.g. colour or size.
During the journey, nutrients locked into these goods vanishes with each passing minute until the food displayed on supermarket shelves has lost over half of their nutritional value compared to when they first were picked.
Produce that has been transported overnight to nearby superstores or is sold from your local farmer’s market is usually displayed at the peak of its ripeness. This freshness not only invariably tastes better but also contains much more vitamins and minerals.
Being able to directly ask questions about how your food has been grown and harvested will enable you to make an informed decision about whether these methods align with your beliefs.
This openness is in stark contrast to the hidden faces of the suppliers that many supermarkets source. Although the produce is legally safe for consumption, there is very little opportunity for consumers to enquire about the use of any unethical practices or unwanted added preservatives.
Consumers have to place a lot of trust in the quality of food imported into stores and this would be much easier to do if they were able to speak to local suppliers face to face.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK in Europe, the added support that farmers require from the public could take on even greater significance.
Cutting out the middleman supermarkets in constant battle with each other will pay farmers the full retail price of their stock rather than an ever-decreasing percentage offered by supermarkets. The more money farmers receive, the greater the chance of thriving farms populating the country for future generations to come.
Buying more local produce over a longer stretch of time can alleviate the need for supermarkets to routinely transport goods over longer distances.
Decreasing the size and number of orders for specific products would then create the knock-on effect of reducing both the numbers of planes, trains and ships trafficking them and the emissions these modes of transport emit into the atmosphere.
When farmers are paid more for their supplies thanks to buying more local produce, they are less likely to sell their land to urban developmental projects. Not only does this allow farmers to sustain or expand their businesses but maintain the naturally beautiful countryside for local residents, travellers and tourists to admire and appreciate.
Well-managed farms also provide valuable support to surrounding ecosystems by conserving rich fertile soil and water sources for surrounding wild habitats.
Search Consultancy is a specialist in sourcing and placing a variety of positions within the hospitality and catering sector including chefs, waiters and caretakers. We also pride ourselves on guiding our candidates through some of the most important issues surrounding the industry. If you have any questions please contact a member of the Search Hospitality & Catering team in your nearest England office.
By Chris Wayper