A recent survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) posed this question to chefs nationwide: “What are some of the top menu trends in the country for 2015?” The answer was loud and clear – local foods are hot and here to stay!
As more and more consumers begin to question where their food comes from, the desire to eat locally sourced and sustainably produced foods, both at home and in restaurants, continues to grow.
According to the West Virginia Farmer’s Market Association, the number of farmer’s markets selling local food direct-to-consumers in WV has tripled over the past 8 or so years. This shows a strong desire for local foods amongst the consumer base in WV. It’s only natural that these same consumers would begin to ask for and expect local foods at establishments where they dine out.
Local food fever is not fading anytime soon! The Top 5 overall trends from the NRA survey include:
- local sourcing of proteins
- local sourcing of produce
- concerns about environmental sustainability of foods
- healthfulness and nutrition
- minimally processed foods
There’s such an opportunity here for restaurants that aren’t already sourcing local, or maybe are only sourcing a little bit, to get on board with increased sourcing of local ingredients.
Not only is this preferred by customers, it is also generally a more environmentally sustainable option. Add in the boost it gives to our local economies, by keeping dollars circulating in our own communities, and it really is a no-brainer. The NRA survey predicts that these Top 5 issues will still matter to consumers for many, many years to come!
VC2 is partnering with the Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative (GVLFI) and the Potomac Highlands Food and Farm Initiative (PHFFI) to bring education, information, and support to restaurant owners, managers, chefs, and caterers who wish to begin sourcing locally or want to expand their current local offerings. Earlier in June we broadcast a nationally-renowned webinar tailored to WV price points, with trainer Anthony Flaccavento of SCALE, Inc. If you missed the webinar, catch the WV Food & Farm Coalition’s summary and listen to the recording here.
VC2 and our regional partners stand ready to support any food establishment that wishes to source locally, with technical, promotional, and many other types of support. We can also support growers who wish to tap into this market channel and begin selling to restaurants.
Stay tuned for further blog posts on how VC2 and our regional partners can help you:
- boost your restaurant’s local sourcing, visibility and marketing
- grow your business – strengthening its foundation
- find more information on an exciting fall training on in-house marketing & sourcing of local foods in partnership with Future Harvest CASA