Why a Growing Number of Event Attendees Are Asking For Locally Sourced F&B

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.

Original post: blog.socialtables.com/catering/event-attendees-locally-sourced-food

GrowthKim Bryden