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The Big Business of Local Food

Gordon Food Services recently hosted three regional “Local Food Think Tank Sessions” in Niagara, London, and Milton, respectively.

Now, we know what you’re thinking – but these sessions were a chance for various stakeholders, including their competitors, to sit down together and discuss the current state of Ontario food.

It was about figuring out where there are opportunities to increase production, add value, and streamline distribution to the Ontario foodservice industry. A�It brought together both provincial and industry organizations — like ourselves — with producers, suppliers, distributors, and buyers of Ontario food.

OCTA was invited to participate in these think tanks and share the Feast ON program with the group. A�As expected, everyone in the room was delighted to learn about Feast ON and how they could support it.

Good news, there is overall consensus that there are real opportunities to grow Ontario’s food production in a way that makes it more accessible and traceable for the foodservice industry and you. Everyone agreed that differentiating Ontario food from imported goods is a top priority and communicating the “added-values” — simple things like freshness, taste and the positive economic impact — associated with buying Ontario food and drink is key.

The overall takeaway? A�Big business is very interested in local food.

Importantly, though, their interest in this real and growing market is matched by a genuine desire to make sure that the foodservice industry can access, track, and market the local food they purchase in a competitive way.

What does this all mean? Well, Feast ON restaurants have a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with both small artisan suppliers and large-scale producers & distributors to grow the production, demand, and sale of Ontario food and drink. A�They just have to continue asking for it.

Really, what it all boils down to, is the next time you order from one of the big guys, make sure to ask for Ontario. They want to play.