June 18 2014 – Robert Fiumara
By most accounts, restaurant and service foods account for roughly a third of all American meals. This trend comes as no surprise, as the working lives of Americans takes up greater and greater chunks of their personal time. With restaurant foods playing such an important role in the lives of Americans everywhere, the details of food service, including key items like atmosphere, menu selection, food preparation and friendliness of the wait staff, are becoming more and more important. Sustainability is a hot button issue, and is at the forefront of consumer trends. More than ever, the consumer is interested in the ingredients that comprise the meals they eat, and as a result, are deeply invested in the sourcing of such ingredients. Where the food comes from is core to their dining experience.
Sustainable Eating Habits Are Trending.
As a result of this trend, restaurants are responding to consumer demands in several ways. The first is by going with local producers for ingredients. While the definition of “locally sourced foods” varies, it is becoming more and more important to consumers, especially those who choose smaller, local restaurants, delis and bakeries, that the food they eat is grown near the place it is prepared.
Another way in which restaurants are addressing sustainability is by looking to organic ingredients. Organic food is certified as such when it meets specific standards such as being grown without the use of most pesticides, fertilizers, or antibiotics. With the rising fear of genetically modified foods, the demand for organic foods is on the rise, particularly within meat markets.
To further address sustainability, consumers are growing more and more aware of how their animal products are sourced and treated. Consumers no longer want animals that raised on chemicals in unsustainable living conditions. Instead, they desire that their meat come from more ethical and sustainable sources. The demand for free-range chicken, cage-free eggs, and crate-free pork is tremendous. Animal rights groups are gaining traction with a variety of markets and interest groups, and as a result, this trend is also on the rise.
How Will You Meet This Growing Demand?
If you want your restaurant to truly thrive, keep an eye on these growing trends. Many consumers refuse to eat at restaurants that do not abide or conform to these trends. If you find yourself unable to adjust to these growing demands, you may find your revenue falling short in turn. Sustainability isn’t just the key to a better world, it’s the key to a more successful restaurant!