The complex debate of organic vs. local can leave restaurant owners scratching their heads. Of course, when given the option, most restaurant owners would like both local and organic foods. But sometimes there’s a choice to be made. At VSAG our restaurant consultants can help define the difference between organic and local and what you should pick.
Organic food became popular in the 1970s when people developed concern about harmful chemicals and pesticides that farmers were using following WWII. Many of these petroleum-based products can cause a lot of damage to not only the human body but the environment around them.
Now, organic has hit an industrial scale as large corporations try to cash in on the profits. Many organic foods are still picked before peak nutritional time. Also, a lot of petroleum is used to produce, package, refrigerate and transport the organic food. Not to mention that USDA allows many inorganic additives under labels that say ‘organic.’ Although organic is good for the most part, the organic label may still contain nutritionally inferior food.
Customers, however, like to see the word ‘organic’ on your menus, so it can be advantageous for your restaurant to add these kinds of foods to their menu design.
Local food, on the other hand, can be very beneficial for various reasons. First off, buying local keeps dollars in the community. The food can be picked and harvested during the peak flavor and nutrition time. You can also get to know the farmers and those who grow the food. You will get to find out if they use nitrogen for fertilizers or compost or use any harmful products. You’ll find out if the animals were treated fairly and kept in clean conditions.
Food consultants, chefs and owners can go to local farmers markets and meet local vendors to find out information and create a business bond that can be as fruitful as the fruit the vendors sell.
While both organic and local foods are important, there are times when buying local is more advantageous – but also when buying on a grand-scale, organic food may seem reasonable for your restaurant. That’s why our restaurant consultants can help you narrow down a decision and ensure that you’re giving the best, most affordable food to your customers.