Aussie Food Businesses Turning To Local Produce And Suppliers In Support Of Small Business
- Border closures have led to supply shortages and a lessening of imported product
- Chefs and restaurateurs have turned to local producers: good for the economy and our industry
- The move has raised awareness generally of the quality of Australia’s food
- The next step is to look to suppliers in your own state or drill down even further to go ‘hyperlocal’ – focusing on your own suburb
WITH OUR FOODSERVICE SUPPLY CHAIN affected by border closures and staffing shortages, food businesses have increasingly been looking to local suppliers and have been rediscovering the quality and value of quality Aussie produce over imported.
“We have to remember that Australia is an island, so with border closures and the lessening of imported product, foodservice professionals, chefs and restaurateurs have turned to local producers, and that’s really a good thing for the economy and our industry generally,” says Perfect Italiano Executive Chef Mark Normoyle.
“The best broccoli comes out of Victoria, the best strawberries out of Queensland – so with border restrictions we have seen some product shortages in certain states,” Mark adds. With less to go around, inevitably some staple products have undergone massive fluctuations, purely due to the law of supply and demand. But, Mark says, not only has the move back to local produce been beneficial for small business suppliers, it’s also raised awareness generally of just how good Australia’s food is.
“We have amazing seafood in our oceans and fabulous beef, chicken, pork, we have terrific dairy products – realistically, we have everything we need here in Australia, so it’s great to see this renewed focus on local supply,” Mark affirms.
He adds that foodservice professionals are now going a step further and focusing on sustainably sourced, lower food mile produce – which means looking to your own state’s suppliers or drilling down even more to go what Mark calls ‘hyperlocal’.
“This means sourcing from your own suburb wherever possible. If you’re using smallgoods on the menu, go to your local butcher first and see what he has to offer. Many of these small businesses are producing great quality products which you’d be proud to add to the menu.
“Over the past few months we’ve seen local communities pull together in support of each other and I think there’s a valuable lesson we’ve all learnt from that – and one aspect is that in this country, you often don’t have to look far afield for great quality produce.”
Mark makes the point that seasonal produce which is locally sourced is not only going to be fresher, it’s likely to be cheaper too. “Why would you use imported asparagus from Asia, when the local asparagus season is about to start right now? We have beautiful stone fruits due to come into season in Jan and February – we as chefs should be trying to use seasonal produce whenever we can, because that’s when ingredients are at their peak and also their cheapest.”