Amidst all the food recalls in the news this week was the news that Canadians will be paying more for fresh fruits and vegetables according to Statistics Canada's recent consumer price index.
The report states that fresh fruit cost rose 11 per cent and fresh vegetable cost rose 11.7 per cent year over year in April.
Why is this happening?
The Canadian food industry has become too reliant on food that is shipped from places like Mexico and California opposed to food that is locally grown on Canadian soil. Mix in the sliding Canadian Loonie, changes in the weather and we get increased food prices causing many Canadians to search out locally grown seasonal options. Seasonal food requires less energy to produce and the abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive.
Adding seasonal now rather than later will be of great help to foodservice operators looking to reduce food costs and add some variety to their menu options. Also buying local seasonal food is a great way to support local Canadian growers and our economy.
Canadians want more transparency
Another report release in May by the Canadian Center for Food Integrity found that “the rising cost of food and access to healthy affordable food are two top concerns for Canadians, above concerns for health care or the economy”. The study which pooled over 2000 Canadians also stated that "Public demand for transparency keeps increasing for the whole food chain - from farmers through to food companies”. See the full article HERE.
This should not be over look by foodservice operators seeing that if your food costs increase so will the prices your customers pay. And if the consumer has to pay more at your restaurant, café or bar he or she will need to know more about:
Recently the NDP noted that for “10 years, surveys have shown that nearly 90 percent of Canadians support the labelling of GMO food”. Many large brands including Campbell Soup Co., General Mills and Kellogg’s, among others, have introduced GMO-labelling on US products ahead of a new initiative by US government that would require all GMO foods to be labeled by July 1, 2016.
A similar bill to the one being passed in the US is in the works for Canada. If passed, bill C-291 will require labels on all GMO products being sold in Canada. See full article HERE.
Recently the university of Toronto's downtown campus cut ties to their foodservice provider due to lack of fresh healthy meals. The report states "chefs will have to cook soups and sauces from scratch." The article also states that “They (students) are increasingly dissatisfied — as they should be — with really highly processed foods and a campus food service that is sort of an irritating afterthought.” See full article HERE.
Canadian foodservice operators who have not yet will soon come under pressure from Canadian customers to add more locally grown and seasonal ingredients to their menu items. Especially since many fast food chains have already started to travel down this road to sustainability.
Until next time your customers want to know why they should spend money at your restaurant, bar or cafe. So give them the goods!
Dwayne Reno CEO & Founder
Social Chat Blog
Once a month, Building Block Associates serves up some food for thought with our foodservice Social Chat Blog.