Local sourcing has been hot for years; however, new advancements are making it even easier to get the fresh fare consumers seek – opening an opportunity for operators to showcase a commitment to the local community while boosting their bottom line. Vertical indoor farming methods in multipurpose office buildings and computer-controlled hydroponic farms (where the growing is done in water as opposed to soil) on school campuses are two examples. Doing the growing inside reduces environmental impact and helps in the way of sustainability, further bringing fresh fare closer to consumers’ doors and in urban areas where large-scale, traditional farming is not possible. One Boston high school is even able to monitor its crops via mobile app, adjusting the temperature and climate inside the hydroponic farm with the press of a button. In the acute care segment, some hospitals are creating their own gardens or miniature farms, providing healthier options on salad bars and patients’ trays alike.
Ideas for your operation:
- Call out local ingredients on your menu wherever possible, so customers can see your connection to the neighboring community.
- Ask local farmers if they would be interested in holding a farmers market on your property. This will attract new customers to your property while showcasing your commitment to bringing fresh food closer to home.
- Hold a “farm-to-table” dinner at your venue that places local farmers in the spotlight.
- If you offer catering services, consider building an entire menu that features locally sourced ingredients like meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to boost this side of your business and help to differentiate your offerings in the process.
Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.