Restaurants, chefs and local foods: insights drawn from application of a diffusion of innovation framework
- 1.6k Downloads
Chefs have been recognized as potentially important partners in efforts to promote local food systems. Drawing on the diffusion of innovation framework we (a) examine the characteristics of chefs and restaurants that have adopted local foods; (b) identified local food attributes valued by restaurants; (c) examine how restaurants function as opinion leaders promoting local foods; (d) explored network linkages between culinary and production organizations; and (e) finally, we consider some of the barriers to more widespread adoption of local foods in the culinary community. Analyzing quantitative and qualitative data collected from interviews with individuals from 71 restaurants, we compare and contrast restaurants that utilize relatively large amounts of locally-produced ingredients with restaurants using few, if any, local products. Results reveal that chefs are most interested in intrinsic food qualities, such as taste and freshness, and less interested in production standards. As opinion leaders, chefs utilize signage, wait staff, and cooking classes to promote local foods; however, the diffusion process across restaurants, and between restaurants and producers, is limited by network associations. Structural barriers such as distribution problems and lack of convenience were identified as limiting more widespread use of locally-grown foods. We offer several implications of this research for further work that seeks to engage chefs as opinion leaders who are important to building greater support for local food systems.
KeywordsChefs Culinary Diffusion of innovation Local food systems Restaurants
Appalachian Center for Economic Networks
Non governmental organizations
U.S. National Organic Program
The authors would like to acknowledge Jason Parker and Greta Wyrick for their support, editorial and proof reading assistance. Many thanks are due to Laura Ann Bergman and Innovative Farmers of Ohio for conceptualizing and laying the ground work for this study. The Ohio Department of Agriculture-Ohio Proud Program Specialty Crop Block Grant funded this study.
- Albright, C.L., J.A. Flora, and S.P. Fortmann. 1990. Restaurant menu labeling: Impact of nutrition information on entrée sales and patron attitudes. Health Education Quarterly 17 (2): 157–167.Google Scholar
- Allen, P. 2004. Together at the table: Sustainability and sustenance in the American agrifood system. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
- Arnettf, A. 2006. You say tomatoes. The Boston Globe, August 23: C1.Google Scholar
- Ballenger, N., N. Blisard, J. Cromartie, D. David, E. Golan, J.M. Harris, L. Bling-Hwan, S. Martinez, G. Pompelli, A. Regmi, H. Stewart, and J.N. Variyam. 2000. Food review: Consumer-driven agriculture. USDA Economic Research Services 25 (1).Google Scholar
- Berg, B.L. 2004. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, 5th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Berry, W. 1996. Conserving communities. In The case against the global economy: And for a turn toward the local, ed. J. Mander and E. Goldsmith, 407–417. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
- Brown, L.A. 1981. Innovation diffusion: A new perspective. New York: Methuen.Google Scholar
- Bruni, F. 2006. Food you’d almost rather hug than eat. The New York Times, August 2. Section F; Dining Out: 8.Google Scholar
- Burrows, M. 2004. Dine at the Rockefellers’, get in touch with the earth. The New York Times, April 21. Section F; Dining Out: 1–5.Google Scholar
- Clancy, K. 1997. Reconnecting farmers and citizens in the food system. In Visions of American Agriculture, ed. W. Lockeretz, 31–46. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.Google Scholar
- Cloud, J. 2007. My search for the perfect apple. Time Magazine 169 (11): 42–50.Google Scholar
- DeLind, L.B., and H.H. Fackler, eds. 1999. CSA: Patterns, problems, and possibilities. In The many faces of community supported agriculture. Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance 5–9. Hartland, Michigan: Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance.Google Scholar
- Economic Research Service (ERS) U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2002. Ohio State fact sheet. http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/OH.htm. Accessed 12 February 2002.
- Goldstein, D., and Bensel T. 2000. Conservation marketing of agricultural products in the French Creek Valley. Report Completed for The Nature Conservancy—Central and Western New York Chapter. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College.Google Scholar
- Erzberger, C., and U. Kelle. 2003. Making inferences in mixed methods: The rules of integration. In Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research, ed. A. Tashakkori and C. Teddlie, 457–490. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Harper, C., and K. Leicht. 2002. Exploring social change: America and the world, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Kloppenburg, J., S. Lezberg, K. De Master, G.W. Stevenson, and J. Hendrickson. 2000. Tasting food, tasting sustainability: Defining the attributes of an alternative food system with competent, ordinary people. Human Organization 59 (2): 177–186.Google Scholar
- Lappé, F.M. 1990. Food, farming and democracy. In Our sustainable table. Essays, ed. R. Clark, 143–160. Berkley, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
- Lofland, J., and L.H. Lofland. 1995. Analyzing social settings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Lyson, T. 2004. Civic agriculture: Reconnecting farm, food, and community. Medford: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
- Marder, D. 2006. Top dog easing out. The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9. Section F; Food: 1–4.Google Scholar
- National Organic Program (NOP). 2003. NOP regulations and policies. http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/NOPhome.html. Accessed December 2003.
- Nygard, B., and O. Storstad. 1998. De-globalization of food markets? Consumer perceptions of safe food: The case of Norway. European Society for Rural Sociology 38 (1): 35–53.Google Scholar
- Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). 2006. Ohio proud farmers market directory search page. http://www.ohioproud.org/fmdirectory/fmdRev1228.asp. Accessed 20 October 2006.
- Ohio Proud. 2000. Consumer recognition of Ohio Proud Products. Ohio Proud Conference, February 15, 2001.Google Scholar
- O’Neill, P., and S. Whatmore. 2000. The business of place: Networks of property, partnership and produce. Geoforum 31 (1): 121–136.Google Scholar
- Panitz, B. 2000. Reading between the lines: The psychology of menu design. Restaurants USA. http://www.restaurant.org/rusa/magArticle.cfm?ArticleID=162. Accessed 20 March 2004.
- Pirog, R. 2004. Ecolabel Value Assessment phase II: Consumer perceptions of local foods. Ames, IA: Iowa State University, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.Google Scholar
- Pollan, M. 2006. The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
- Restaurant Association. 2004. Restaurant spending. http://www.restaurant.org/research/consumer/spending.cfm. Accessed 20 March 2004.
- Restaurant Association. 2004. Industry at a glance. http://www.restaurant.org/research/ind_glance.cfm. Accessed 20 March 2004.
- Rogers, E. 2003. Diffusion of innovations, 5th ed. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Severson, K. 2006. Gathering to celebrate food made the old, slow way. The New York Times, November 1. Section F; Dining Out: 5.Google Scholar
- Teddlie, C., and A. Tashakkori. 2003. Major issues and controversies in the use of mixed methods in the social and behavioral sciences. In Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research, ed. A. Tashakkori and C. Teddlie, 3–50. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Trubek, A. 2003. The taste of place. Food and Society Policy Fellow. http://www.foodandsocietyfellows.org. Accessed 20 March 2004.