Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 177–191 | Cite as

Restaurants, chefs and local foods: insights drawn from application of a diffusion of innovation framework

  • Shoshanah M. Inwood
  • Jeff S. Sharp
  • Richard H. Moore
  • Deborah H. Stinner
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Chefs Culinary Diffusion of innovation Local food systems Restaurants 

Abbreviations

ACENET

Appalachian Center for Economic Networks

NGOs

Non governmental organizations

NOP

U.S. National Organic Program

References

  1. 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
  2. Allen, P. 2004. Together at the table: Sustainability and sustenance in the American agrifood system. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, P., and M. Kovach. 2000. The capitalist composition of organic: The potential of markets in fulfilling the promise of organic agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values 17: 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arnettf, A. 2006. You say tomatoes. The Boston Globe, August 23: C1.Google Scholar
  5. Balazs, K. 2002. Take one entrepreneur: The recipe for success of France’s great chefs. European Management Journal 20 (3): 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 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
  7. Berg, B.L. 2004. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, 5th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  8. 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
  9. Brown, L.A. 1981. Innovation diffusion: A new perspective. New York: Methuen.Google Scholar
  10. Bruni, F. 2006. Food you’d almost rather hug than eat. The New York Times, August 2. Section F; Dining Out: 8.Google Scholar
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Cloud, J. 2007. My search for the perfect apple. Time Magazine 169 (11): 42–50.Google Scholar
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. Goodman, D.E., and E.M. DuPuis. 2002. Knowing and growing good: Beyond the production-consumption debate in the sociology of agriculture. Sociologia Ruralis 42 (1): 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Granovetter, M.S. 1973. The strength of weak ties. The American Journal of Sociology 78 (6): 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guthman, J. 2003. Fast food/organic food: Reflexive tastes and the making of yuppie chow. Social and Cultural Geography 4 (1): 45–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 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
  21. Harper, C., and K. Leicht. 2002. Exploring social change: America and the world, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  22. Hinrichs, C. 2000. Embeddedness and local food systems: Notes on two types of direct agricultural markets. Journal of Rural Studies 16 (3): 295–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. Lofland, J., and L.H. Lofland. 1995. Analyzing social settings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  26. Lyson, T. 2004. Civic agriculture: Reconnecting farm, food, and community. Medford: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lyson, T., G.W. Gillespie, and D. Hilchey. 1995. Farmer’s markets and the local community: Bridging the formal and informal economy. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 10: 108–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lyson, T., and J. Green. 1999. The agricultural marketscape: A framework for sustaining agriculture and communities in the Northeast. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 15: 133–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marder, D. 2006. Top dog easing out. The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9. Section F; Food: 1–4.Google Scholar
  30. Murdoch, J. 2000. Networks: A new paradigm of rural development? Journal of Rural Studies 16: 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. National Organic Program (NOP). 2003. NOP regulations and policies. http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/NOPhome.html. Accessed December 2003.
  32. 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
  33. Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). 2006. Ohio proud farmers market directory search page. http://www.ohioproud.org/fmdirectory/fmdRev1228.asp. Accessed 20 October 2006.
  34. Ohio Proud. 2000. Consumer recognition of Ohio Proud Products. Ohio Proud Conference, February 15, 2001.Google Scholar
  35. O’Neill, P., and S. Whatmore. 2000. The business of place: Networks of property, partnership and produce. Geoforum 31 (1): 121–136.Google Scholar
  36. Padel, S. 2001. The diffusion and institutionalization of organic farming: Conversion to organic farming: A typical example of the diffusion of an innovation? Sociologia Ruralis 41 (1): 40–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 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.
  38. 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
  39. Pollan, M. 2006. The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pothukuchi, K., and J.L. Kaufman. 1999. Placing the food system on the urban agenda: The role of municipal institutions in food system planning. Agriculture and Human Values 16: 213–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pratten, J.D. 2003. The importance of waiting staff in restaurant service. British Food Journal 105 (11): 826–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Raynolds, L.T. 2000. Re-embedding global agriculture: The international organic and fair trade movements. Agriculture and Human Values 17 (3): 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Restaurant Association. 2004. Restaurant spending. http://www.restaurant.org/research/consumer/spending.cfm. Accessed 20 March 2004.
  44. Restaurant Association. 2004. Industry at a glance. http://www.restaurant.org/research/ind_glance.cfm. Accessed 20 March 2004.
  45. Rogers, E. 2003. Diffusion of innovations, 5th ed. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  46. 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
  47. Starr, A., A. Card, C. Benepe, G. Auld, D. Lamm, K. Smith, and K. Wilken. 2003. Sustaining local agriculture: Barriers and opportunities to direct marketing between farms and restaurants in Colorado. Agriculture and Human Values 20: 301–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 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
  49. Trubek, A. 2003. The taste of place. Food and Society Policy Fellow. http://www.foodandsocietyfellows.org. Accessed 20 March 2004.
  50. Valente, T.W., and R.L. Davis. 1999. Accelerating the diffusion of innovations using opinion leaders. The Annals of the American Academy 566: 55–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weatherell, C., A. Tregear, and J. Allinson. 2003. In search of the concerned consumer: UK public perceptions of food, farming and buying local. Journal of Rural Studies 19: 233–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Winter, M. 2003. Embeddedness, the new food economy and defensive localism. Journal of Rural Studies 19: 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shoshanah M. Inwood
    • 1
  • Jeff S. Sharp
    • 1
  • Richard H. Moore
    • 1
  • Deborah H. Stinner
    • 2
  1. 1.Rural Sociology Program, Department of Human and Community Resource DevelopmentThe Ohio State UniversityOHUSA
  2. 2.Organic Food Farming Education and Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC)The Ohio State UniversityWoosterUSA

Personalised recommendations