The majority of businesses in the hospitality industry have contrasting opinions to their suppliers about the term “local” when it refers to food, according to the results of a survey.
Nearly three-quarters of the 2,000 businesses questioned for Beacon Purchasing’s annual survey said they believed local food should be sourced from within a 20-mile radius, but many suppliers refer to regional, or even national products as local.
Views were also split in a recent BigHospitality poll. According to 42 per cent of visitors, food can only be classed as local it if is sourced from within a 60 mile radius, while 52 per cent said it had to be from the same county or region as the business. Just 6 per cent said local food could be sourced from anywhere in the country.
Beacon Director Chris Durant said the findings present a challenge for suppliers who need to set out a clear definition of what “local” means while also supplying products at competitive prices.
He said: “The reality is that businesses are not going to get everything they need from within a 20-mile radius or at a price they want to pay.
“However, our suppliers have taken leaps forward in this area over the past couple of years and I believe we are moving towards a greater consensus on what the standard and definition of ‘local’ should be.”
The survey also found that a large number of businesses would use organic or free-range ingredients in their recipes if they were cheaper. Although 50 per cent of businesses said they were using free-range or organic produce consistently, 92 per cent said they would use more if they cost less.
And despite 64 per cent of businesses paying more attention to healthy food when devising menus, 88 per cent of respondents said they would be against including nutritional information on menus.
A major concern was the impracticality of its introduction, alongside the desire to avoid ‘nannying’ customers and overcomplicating the look of menus, Beacon said.
Watch our video on local sourcing featuring Emily Watkins of the Kingham Plough at Chipping Norton here