How the way we eat has changed the demand for fresh produce

County Supplies is a Business Reporter client

The demand for local food is everywhere. It’s gone from a foodie movement to an established mainstream idea. Sourcing fresh, local ingredients is a rapidly growing trend: we see it featured on restaurant menus and in an increasing demand from our school, office and event customers.

Part of the reason is that people are more environmentally conscious and they want to know where their food comes from. Plus, as we know, fresh produce tastes so much better!

This has translated into chefs celebrating seasonality and, where they can, supporting local farmers and growers. Chefs need to follow food trends and know what’s in season. Adding greater seasonality to their menus and educating diners about a featured ingredient, or the dish itself, is often now a big part of the job.

To do this, they need to follow the agricultural harvest calendar, which tells them when fruits and vegetables are at their peak flavor and ripeness. They need to know where ingredients come from, be aware about the number of deliveries they place, and try to reduce their food miles and packaging waste.

It’s been an exciting time for British growers. They have very much come to the foreground over the past decade. Once it was largely just the chef or the dish that was celebrated but today accolades go out to fresh produce and the farms themselves.

How has County Supplies adapted to meet today’s changing needs?

Both County Supplies and the industry as a whole have changed significantly over the years.

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We’re seeing new farming innovations and the adoption of greener growing techniques surface. And this is set to continue. More people now follow vegetarian or vegan diets, and we’re eating a wider variety of fruit and vegetables. As a result, we now stock more than 2,000 kinds of fruits, vegetables, dairy, frozen and dry goods – supplying more than 500 customers.

We’ve always loved British produce – there is nothing quite like a fresh British strawberry – so it’s great that the demand for locally sourced produce has increased.

With our 24/7 operation, the cauliflower you bought from us today was more than likely in the ground less than 24 hours ago.

Fresh is best

Our aim is to deliver the best fresh produce in a sustainable way, never more so than today.

We try to work with the best British and international growers. We’re proud to be British Retail Consortium, Red Tractor and Leaf accredited, working with growers who live up to high standards of sustainable farming.

And today, not all produce has to look perfect – we supply surplus or ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be destined for landfill or left to rot in the field.

We pay extra-close attention to how our produce is delivered – our vehicles are fully refrigerated with full Garmin temperature and delivery tracking.

We hope the trend for more sustainable, locally based produce will continue. Climate change is obviously a worry and hopefully we’re not too late in correcting it.

No doubt farmers will have to adapt their growing techniques to more variable weather patterns. This may mean we eat more of what’s in season and will have less of the all-year availability luxury we do today.

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However, we hope to be serving a larger customer base, supplying the best in British and international produce 20 years from now.

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Originally published on Business Reporter

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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