The 5 key benefits of sourcing local produce
The global economy has made the Earth smaller than it has ever been. Purchasing managers in Brighton can now call up a Chinese firm to find the best deal on procuring a huge stockpile of goods and produce for their businesses.
Amid all the excitement about this shrinking world, sometimes it’s easy to forget about your local options just outside your door. Actually, in many cases, you will find that buying local has many benefits that far outweigh just buying for price and volume overseas. To theoretically solve the potential trade restrictions that could be imposed on the UK following Brexit, here are Search Hospitality & Catering’s top five benefits of sourcing locally.
1. Greater pricing agility compared to massive shipments
It is easy for suppliers to simply look at the price difference between the steeper costs of locally grown produce and the cheaper options abroad and immediately choose the latter. Yet, providing that the deviations in cost are not unmanageable or unrealistic, local produce can actually be a better long-term option for your financial targets. When any price alterations need to be made, overseas products take longer to adjust – especially the large quantities that are transported by freights or planes – delaying their arrival at best and costing much more than expected at worst.
Local vendors can modify their prices accurately and deliver them to the doors of suppliers much faster than the cumbersome procedures of overseas distributors. Although you might take a short term financial hit by investing in local produce, you are granted much greater financial agility over the course of a year.
2. Face to face contacts drive personal relationships
Having the ability to meet your supplier face to face is a priceless quality when building business connections and relationships. When you have a stock crisis or desperately need to meet a surprise deadline, a personal relationship with a local supplier could lead to them instantly being able to deliver your required quota as a favour. The chances of this happening with a voice on the telephone for a supplier hundreds of miles away are non-existent in comparison.
Profitable and/or positive relationships can also lead to long-term discounts on premium items and first picks on recently harvested produce. Building relationships is at the heart of any business and developing them with people within a stone’s throw of your base can yield immediate wondrous results.
3. Generate better PR
There are few better pieces of PR in this industry then to state that you support your local community and it’s businesses and then actually deliver on your statement. With the general public becoming more and more aware of the importance of local produce, prominently displaying items that have been imported from places like Egypt and Peru would be a disastrous faux pas. Even massive global chains like McDonalds and Five Guys are proudly promoting their locally sourced beef with the latter even going as far as naming the farm within a one mile radius of their store.
Even if the costs don’t add up to regularly using local food, doing something as simple as returning recyclable washed jars or used crates to your local provider instead of chucking them in a bin can create a feeling of goodwill amongst local suppliers. Word will spread amongst the trade of your positive actions and this will make securing partnerships with neighbouring suppliers much smoother and maybe cheaper.
Bartering is a brilliant way for smaller businesses –and larger ones when times are tight - to gain access to valuable goods. By providing local suppliers with a useful commodity which is pure waste for you, suppliers can repay the favour by offering produce either for free or at huge discounts.
In kitchens, excess oil used in cooking can be used for biofuel and unused fruit and vegetables are perfect as food for livestock or compost. In exchange, local farmers will normally be glad to trade local produce in return.
5. Improving relationships with customers
Customers intrinsically know the value and the importance of buying locally sourced food. They feel a sense of pride by buying goods from a farm that could be just down the road or from someone they pass in a street every week.
The greater variety of products customers see displayed or served in your business, the better the community’s feel good factor and togetherness will be. These people in turn will likely morph into regular consumers and build a foundation of trade for you.
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