Food provenance gaining importance on British menus
A recent survey has found that outlets are giving diners a choice of innovative dishes with bold flavour combinations together with information about the ingredients they are using.
Favourite dishes remain the same, but the descriptions of them on menus have changed with additions such as weight and provenance. In addition, 39% of establishments now include calorie information on their menus. Details of food identity and local sourcing can be seen with dishes such as ‘outdoor reared British pork sausage,’ or ‘fish and chips from a sustainable source.’
Only 63 per cent of the food we eat is home-produced and, since one third of our household carbon emissions come from the food, it is wise to reduce them by ensuring food hasn’t travelled thousands of miles across the globe. Some of the figures are shocking. For example, the CO2 emissions caused by air-freighting a single basket of strawberries from New Zealand is equivalent to 11 school runs.
Local provenance sits well with diners who appreciate regional identity and supporting local economies. Catstrand, a café venue within a rural arts and visitor centre in New Galloway, provides light meals of soup, sandwiches and home baking, mostly prepared from locally sourced ingredients. Rachel Thompson, development manager, said: “We knew from the start we wanted to champion local Galloway producers and fair-trade goods.”
“Our customers were surveyed on their reaction to food provenance labelling and local sourcing, and we gathered a range of positive comments. 60% of our customers said this affected their food choices and 100% of customers appreciated the menu declarations and would like to see them in the future.”
Another key trend identified by the report is giving food special status using names such as ‘posh chicken kiev’ and ‘artisan sorbet.’ From a marketing point of view, this makes food sound more appealing and special. It differentiates and elevates simple dishes to a new level.