Contemporary Issues In Hospitality Management |
A critical investigation into the enabling and inhibiting factors effecting restaurants propensity to provide local food |
Student No. 09823206 |
HH300UWords: 2485 |
It is apparent there is growing pressure from global, national and social stakeholders for businesses to become more sustainable in their practises. Although defining sustainable food consumption is fraught with difficulties it is widely accepted to include economic, social, cultural and environmental factors (Reisch 2010).
A growing and contentious issue within this framework is the provenance and locality of ingredients within the food-related ...view middle of the document...
A proposed benefit for local food systems (LFS) is regional job creation and with UK unemployment at record levels presents a very attractive prospect for the government. However evidence submitted by Genewatch UK (2011) for a government whitepaper claims the government supports local in an ostensible manner. Further criticism arises from Sir Don Curry who claims the ‘plethora’ of supporting bodies creates inefficiencies in local food systems (Defra n.d.). Defra (n.d.) also recognises that the nature of local food requires a de-centralised system. Under the umbrella of Defra many schemes and grants to assist growth in the local sector do exist however many argue these are more agricultural based (Seed 2005) and none are directed a local food sector alone. The government recently trebled the Rural Enterprise Scheme Funding yet only to the amount of 36 million (Defra n.d.). which could be seen as measly comparative to potential revenue.
A key issue for restaurateurs wishing to adopt ‘local food’ as part of their philosophy is the difficulty posed in trying to determine its meaning. Sims (2009 Pg 107) argues that ‘the concept of local food resists precise definition’. Research by the Working Group on Local Food (2003) indentified considerable variations in the definitions provided by stakeholders as to what constituted ‘local food’. Notably however, they were mainly concerned with geographical context which, although common, proves complicated as discrepancies as to where ingredients within the product come from occur (Defra 2003; Working Group on Local Food 2003). Furthermore, Sims (2009 Pg 107) observes that geographical definition is doubtful as “rightly or wrongly, local is often equated with a host of values relating to social, environmental and quality criteria”. The inability to define local, derived from the complexity of its interdisciplinary nature, essentially allows the operator to dictate their interpretation of local. Therefore the level it is advocated and practised is, a) unregulated and b) subjective.
Some restaurants do impose boundaries based on their own adaptation of local. Due south for example, a two rosette restaurant in Brighton, UK, focus their entire operation on local food. They claim to source 80% of their produce from within a 35 mile radius of the restaurant location. Victoria Shenton, a co-founder, states this was their mission statement at the start of the venture and “continues to be central to everything we do” (Shenton cited in Caterer & Hotelkeeper 2011). Shenton notes the increase in demand from consumers for local produce and regards the relationship with suppliers as symbiotic though not without problems. Issues such as logistics and reliability were identified however Shenton asserts “it’s what keeps the business fresh, alive and exciting”. In another interview the head chef, Michael Bremner, regards sourcing locally as forcing “you to think outside the box” (Bremner cited in Restaurant Brighton...