The food industry is constantly changing, and while industrialized fast food may have been the norm over the past few decades, this may not be the case for much longer. With the health and environmental concerns that are continuously being linked to fast, convenient foods, and the increased awareness that consumers now have in wanting to know exactly where their food has come from, more and more people are now shunning fast food options in favor of healthier options that focus on freshness and quality.
Ever since 1994, when the US Department of Agriculture began to keep records on farmers markets around the country, numbers have more than quadrupled, and there are now over 8000 registered farmers markets dotted around America. This trend is also being experienced in many other countries around the world, from Europe to Australia, with many people now preferring to buy their food directly from the farmer that has grown it. Of course, the goods on sale will be seasonal, and can be completely different depending on which region you are in, but with winter farmers markets now just as popular as the summer versions, it is definitely possible to have access to farm-fresh produce all year round.
Meal Planning and Delivery Subscriptions
Meal planning is essential for most households, and there are now subscription services available that make this even easier, doing away with the temptation to opt for a fast food meal on those late evenings when you do not much feel like cooking. These new companies allow customers to sign up for a weekly meal plan, after which the exact ingredients needed for each meal are delivered to the customer’s door. Not only does this make cooking healthy meals at home much more convenient, but it also does away with the need to shop at grocery stores, and reduces the amount of food wastage, since you are only sent exactly what you will need for the week.
Fresh and Seasonal Menus
With the increased demand from consumers wanting quality when they eat out at restaurants, a number of eateries are now creating seasonal menus, stocking their kitchens with fresh and local produce. This not only reduces food miles, but also expands awareness on the delicious ingredients that can be found locally. These restaurants can be found just about everywhere, ranging from high-end fine dining to casual café snacks.
Small farms face a number of challenges when it comes to marketing and selling their produce, not only financially but also in terms of the range and quantity of produce that they can offer. This is where farm co-ops come in, a concept that has already seen plenty of success. Essentially, a farm co-op is a group of food producers that use combined efforts to sell their goods, sharing advertising costs and dividing up tasks between them. This makes it much easier for them to also sell to larger stores and supermarkets, as together they are much more likely to be able to meet the demands of these larger businesses.
The rise of fast food has led to the decline of local food traditions and cultures, and has severely altered the way in which consumers view food. Fortunately, it would seem as though the “slow food” movement is continuously gaining momentum, and once this has been embraced to a larger extent, we will soon be able to see improvements in the overall health of the general public, as well as that of the environment.