A menu that offers nourishing, fresh food adds to the quality and allure of your restaurant. The best ingredients create the best-tasting dishes. So, if you want to elevate your business to the next level, a great place to start is to incorporate fresh ingredients and seasonal foods into your menu.
Why Fresh Ingredients Matter
A balanced diet is one that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Fresher foods not only taste better, but they’re healthier since they still have more of their natural nourishment. Once a food is picked or harvested, the nutritional value begins to decline, often losing half of their nutritional value once they hit store shelves.
Most fresh foods, such as the supply at local farmers’ markets, are picked within the last 24 hours. These foods are picked to be sold quickly, so they’re more likely to be at peak ripeness – which is also peak nutrient density – and are ready to be eaten or cooked.
The Benefits of Shopping for Local Foods
To get the best quality produce, you will have the best luck if you shop locally. Local foods are also safer to eat, as mass producers often resort to things like preservatives, additives, pesticides, and flavorings to meet demand. In addition, food that must travel great lengths to reach customers has more potential to be exposed to contamination or bacteria.
New Recipe Options
Another benefit of local food suppliers is that you can discover new foods. The average grocery store is meant to be a source for a large population, so they only have room to carry popular items. Local farmers often carry special varieties of produce that can make your restaurant stand out with unique recipes and flavors.
Capitalize on Seasonal Specials
Instead of utilizing all general produce year-round, small-scale farmers operate within local food seasons. This means you can rotate your menu options to include ingredients at their ripest and tastiest time of year. This will keep your menu fresh and invite customers to come see what’s new!
Reduce Waste and Shipping Costs
While you do not pay shipping for foods you buy from a large chain grocery store, it is added to the price of the food. The transport, packaging, and any additional processes to keep food fresh during extended shipping are all added to the purchase price. Local foods don’t have these additional expenses. Shopping with local farmers also produces less environmental waste and supports the growth of your local economy.
How to Shop Local Foods
Your area could have local foods everywhere, from farms on the outskirts of town to community gardens. There may be farmers’ markets or vendor stations, or even food growers who sell door-to-door.
Ask your neighbors, search Facebook and Instagram, check community postings and local event calendars, and keep your eyes peeled for any flyers or signs. Once you are engaging with local food producers, build relationships with them and gain knowledge on the best ways to shop for your business.
Why Customers Love to Eat Local
When people come to your restaurant, they are looking for not simply great
food but an experience they can feel positive about. Building a reputation focused on community, sustainability, and fresh foods can help drive repeat business and expose you to new audiences. Proudly supplying your restaurant with ingredients from local sources lets your community know you have values they can support.
The Best Food Is Fresh Food
It’s easy for food service businesses to prioritize convenience over quality, or the generic over what is new and unique. In the long term, however, the benefits of fresh, local ingredients and foods are entirely worth it. You can support your community, operate more sustainably, pay less hidden costs, supply more nutritious foods, and more. And, to keep those fresh foods as fresh as possible, use NCCO products for all your packaging, storing, and serving needs.