Bet the Farm

March 24, 2009


It’s a paradox of sorts, but as the world gets bigger and bigger, it really has begun to shrink.

Consumers have grown weary of suspicious ingredients in their food, ambiguous claims on packaging, and misleading statements in advertising.  People just want some organic goat cheese (thanks Cha-Cha, pictured above) containing ingredients no longer than four syllables.  This doesn’t have to be an expensive burden on restaurants and food manufacturers, who might be tempted to secure cheaper “natural” products from a large-scale manufacturer with cozy rolling hills on its labels.

As we grow, the world begins to partition off into small sects which must be self-sustaining in case oil someday rises to $200 a barrel and hiring that truck from South Carolina will no longer make financial sense.  But the few extra pennies we spend now supporting our local farmers and food producers will not only create strong and fair local economies, but also serves as a fantastic opportunity to market with these hard-working individuals.  The consumer wants local, organic, farm-produced food, and though they may not be as willing to spend a whole lot extra for it now, this trend will increasingly become the norm.

The marketing tip is for restaurants and suppliers:  Bet the Farm!

Restaurateurs, start making connections with local farmers and suppliers, and craft feature menu items around their products.  Have a daily menu item, or a special evening that features locally-sourced products.  Studies show that customers are interested in the back-story of these individuals, so include a write-up about one or more of them or their products and slip it into the evening menu.  Increasing your support for these businesses will probably result in better deals for you (especially if you offer the exposure), and it’s a win-win for the local economy.

Remember: 2% of the world grows food for the other 98%, and with arable land shrinking, it’s best to plan to be locally sustainable now.  Your customers will love the novelty.


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