More customers seeking out locally-sourced produce, food firms say
SCOTTISH produce remains in vogue, with provenance still squarely in the spotlight.
From Scotch beef and haggis to salmon and mussels, there’s no shortage of ingredients chefs and restaurateurs can utilise to tap into the provenance pound as the hunger for native produce continues to grow.
Niall Deveney, marketing executive at food wholesaler Dunns Food & Drinks, said the provenance of produce used in pubs and restaurants is “definitely a key consideration now”.
“Consumers prefer to buy food with local provenance – they have a perception that food with a back-story is of better quality,” he said, adding that, in Dunns’ view, customers are willing to pay 15% or more for products “they know are of Scottish or regional origin”.
Taking a similar stance, Kiran Dyer, marketing manager at food company Harvey & Brockless, said consumers react well to locally-sourced dishes in restaurants as there “is a sense of pride in finding excellent produce right here on their doorstep”.
But the appeal of locally-sourced produce stretches beyond Scotland, according to Deveney of Dunns, who said there is “increasing demand from visitors to Scotland to be able to sample distinctive local food and taste traditional cooking”.
Sourcing locally has other benefits, too.
For instance, it can attract those looking to make more environmentally sustainable choices when dining out, according to Dyer of Harvey & Brockless, who said it can give local consumers “a sense of investing in their own communities and reducing their impact on the environment”.
“Diners are far more discerning and selective about the food that they eat, making informed decisions every step of the way,” said Dyer.
Diners are now far more discerning and selective about the food they eat.
This was echoed by Deveney of Dunns, who said Scottish consumers “have always been more loyal to local in comparison to the rest of the UK”.
And operators can capitalise on this loyalty by putting ingredients that are “known for their ‘Scottishness’” at the heart of their menu, said Deveney.
“That said, in some ways it’s the very premise of provenance and sourcing that has become trendy, going beyond individual products,” said Deveney.
For those considering revising their food offer to stay in line with the trends, Deveney reckons now is the perfect time – and said Dunns Annual Directory “is an excellent place to start”; the firm has this year flagged products which have a Scottish back-story with a saltire.
In terms of simple additions, Deveney advised that Scottish twists on popular foods can be well received, as well as offering artisan, Scottish cheese boards as an alternative dessert option.
And it goes without saying that chefs will use their own flair to pair fresh Scottish produce with ingredients from further afield.
Deveney said many are “using their innovation to extract the benefits of Scottish provenance”, adding that fusion cuisine “provides a point of difference by blending the best of Scottish ingredients with culinary traditions from elsewhere”.