Sourcing F&B locally makes it possible for your events to be more mission-driven, and boost’s your brand equity (or your client’s) among millennials. Here’s how.
Consumers Value Community More Than Ever Before
We live in an era where people feel disconnected. You walk into a coffee shop, it’s packed, but everyone is on their laptop or phone barely glancing up at the world around them. One of the few time we all pause (and yes, it may be to take a photo) is over food, and sharing an experience about food. The rise of #foodporn on your Instagram feed isn’t just because of its beauty, it’s also belonging. We crave connection, and food has always been a means to create those shared experiences that people can remember.
The food industry is fascinating because it provides so much hope to those who may want to start their own business or may have barriers to entry for employment; and yet, conversely, it’s also associated with some of the largest conglomerates in the world. We’ve seen a shift in consumer spending behavior towards locally sourced food products, almost as a statement. We value, and want to feel invested in, our communities — and one way of making that statement is shifting our purchasing dollars into businesses who have a double bottom line.
Where There’s Value, So Goes the Money
A Tour Guide to the Two Planets: NEO vs. Traditional is one of my favorite videos that perfectly encapsulates the motives and reasoning for increased consumer spending on mission-driven brands, products, and experiences — predominantly led by Millennials. It’s important to note that Millennials will outspend Baby Boomers by 2017 (Hello, New Year). I bring up this socio-cultural context because it gives us a glimpse into WHY more of your event attendees are looking for locally sourced foods. In short: Consumers are increasingly turning to mission-driven brands. These are brands that can deliver an experience that speaks to bigger causes, such as community and connectedness. Sourcing F&B locally makes it possible for your events to be more mission-driven, and boost’s your brand equity (or your client’s) among millennials.
The Local Option is the Healthy Option
According to the 2016 US Catering Industry Report compiled by IBISWorld Inc., “More customers are demanding healthier options and locally sourced or organic foods, [and] as competition rises, it will become even more important for operators to find a way to differentiate themselves from competitors.” The health and fitness trend, isn’t a trend anymore. For a growing number of people, it’s just a way of life. As we become more educated about how the food we eat is affecting our bodies, we’re increasingly turning to locally sourced options. Which is why it’s important that your events offer the option in the first place.
Now For Something A Little Different
It’s not just for the health nuts. Millennial attendees care about experience, not material goods. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important for your events to offer an entirely new experience. Locally sourced catering is one way to do just that. It makes your event stand out and makes attendees feel like they’re having a meal that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. Even if a fraction of your normal spend was allocated to the procurement of local goods, there would be a surge in customer count. Why? Because you’d be tapping into the widespread consumer value of community impact (remember: double bottom line). It’s a win-win-win situation — competitive edge for your business, economic gains for our small business entrepreneurs, and tailored experiences for the guest.
It's very important to lead with your WHY in all that you do and create. I am a small business owner in Baltimore/DC Metro Area, and I have lived in this region for 10+ years. Cureate works with food and beverage business owners on their business development, marketing, and operations so that they are able to maintain consistent cash flow to support their families and to contribute back into their communities.
But in building Cureate, I also have realized a bigger dream. I strive to create connections that result in shared positive economic outcomes. What a world this could be if our money circulated between those at the top and bottom more freely — that all of us could become investors with our purchasing dollars.
Let’s co-create our future together.
I’m stating this very plainly because I’ve realized, as has the rest of the nation, that there is a great division between a lot of our neighbors across the United States. Time and time again, we see that those who tend to succeed (more often than not) are the ones who have been privy to certain networks based on the circle they were born into, or could afford to create better luck for themselves. It’s easier to take risks, and to operate from a mindset of opportunity, when you have options to fall back on.
Let’s systematize access to opportunity.
We wanted to create a space for all food and beverage entrepreneurs to access new business opportunities, so that we can all operate from a mindset of opportunity — instead of acting and reacting out of scarcity. When you operate out of scarcity, your time and resources become spread thin. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, and we dream of the day when everyone has the ability to create the quality of life they so desire to live in.
Let’s change the status quo today.
Cureate Connect is online platform that matches food & beverage entrepreneurs with new business opportunities from large businesses, name brands, and institutions. If you are an individual who has the ability to put your company’s purchasing dollars back into the local economy, we want to make it easier for you to do so. By joining our community, we’re saving you time and money through our procurement system — where we match entrepreneurs with your Requests for Proposals (RFPs). This is a first-ever procurement system for local goods.
I don’t know what’s to come in this next era of democracy, but what I do know is that we all need to step up to the plate and put our money where our mouth is. If you’re with me and want to learn more about how you can get involved — as a food/beverage entrepreneur, a buyer, or concerned consumer — let’s talk.
tl;dr — WHY am I doing this?
We exist to cureate connections between small business entrepreneur and big business buyer so that we can all live and work in more interconnected, economically-vibrant communities.
We've been thinking through questions like: What does success look like for us? How does one scale their business sustainably and strategically? and Why do you have to know someone, who know's someone, who know's someone in order to get ahead in this world— shouldn't your product growth be tied to quality and grit, and not because you were born into a certain network? These questions coupled with our experiences led to the birth of Cureate Connect.
We exist to create connections between small business entrepreneurs and big business buyers so that we can all live and work in more interconnected, economically-vibrant communities.
Cureate Connect is an online platform that connects large business, name brands, and institutions with the small business economy through new business opportunities.
Want to learn more? Watch this Welcome Video we send to Buyers as they sign-up for the service. Our platform will always be free for Vendors; and we encourage all food and beverage small businesses to sign-up, so we can start bringing you MORE NEW BUSINESS! Visit http://connect.cureate.co, and learn more under ABOUT and FAQ.
Last, but certainly not least, we just won the first Conscious Capitalism Pitch Competition at Innovation Village Baltimore! Read more about the event and about Cureate Connect's beginnings here on Technical.ly Baltimore.
We beta-launched Cureate Connect on June 20, 2016 at the 2nd annual #madeinBaltimore Vendor Fair at Lexington Market. Stay tuned for more updates on product features and our growth plan!
Scale Thoughtfully, Source Locally.
Co-Founders Matt and Ashley saw an increasing demand for small batch manufacturing in the beverage space. Starting with beer, they've now grown into non-alcoholic liquids— decreasing barriers to entry to scale ones business tremendously. We worked with them on telling their story through visuals, copy, and overall web presence. Check out the new site here: luckycloverpackaging.com.
We've been working alongside verdeHOUSE on the St. Elizabeth's East redevelopment for over a year. What's been fascinating to see is the process in which the community has been involved in building out the masterplan for reviving this abandoned mental hospital. This is the premise of design-thinking — taking into account your end-user as a part of the entire building process.
Cureate was tasked to create three videos; (1) What is this redevelopment all about anyway? (2) a call-to-action for the community to get involved now by showcasing their art and small business endeavors, and (3) In 90 seconds, a history of St. Elizabeth's to get people excited about the past, present and future of the campus. Enjoy below!