Restaurants increasingly adding 'local' ingredients to menus

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The locavore movement is gaining steady momentum in the US as claims of using 'local' ingredients have grown by 13 percent in US restaurants, says a new report released this week.

According to market research firm Mintel, the restaurant industry is experiencing a push towards indigenous ingredients fueled by more socially responsible and ethical consumers.

Sophisticated, educated diners are also pushing this trend a step further, pointed out foodservice analyst Kathy Hayden, signaling a desire to return to simpler ingredients and migrate away from processed foods.

"This extends the idea beyond geography to include other important attributes such as 'seasonal,' 'traditional,' and 'authentic,' especially as it relates to global cuisines," Hayden said in a release.

Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about regional specialties, the report adds, like Maine lobster, and po'boys from Louisiana, a submarine sandwich filled with deep-fried seafood on baguettes.

The use of local ingredients is the centerpiece of Mexican fast-casual chain Chipotle's, which has gained a strong fan base for its efforts to source as much of their ingredients locally.

The report also uses fast-food chain Popeyes as an example of a company built around the regional Creole and Cajun heritage of Louisiana. Their menu includes deep fried chicken, red beans and rice, biscuits and iced tea sweetened with cane sugar.

The chain exports New Orleans-style gastronomy to countries like Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, the Caribbean and in Eastern Europe.

In 2007, the folks at the New Oxford American Dictionary chose the term ‘locavore,' defined as "one who eats food grown locally whenever possible," as the word of the year.

 

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