Event managers, are you doing enough?
16th November 2021
Have you ever thought about source of your food and the negative implications this may have? Do you carefully consider local businesses?
Now more than ever it’s vital that we’re all supporting local businesses wherever possible. Not only is there an increasing concern over the origins of where food comes from but there’s also a drive to support local industries due to growing environmental worries and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was highlighted in a survey conducted by Capgemini Research Institute which found 63% of UK consumers now plan to purchase more locally made products in the next 12 months in light of Covid-19.
An industry that’s been particularly effected due to Covid-19 is farming. Farmers faced huge losses on their produce especially on fresh vegetables, fruits and milk products. These losses were associated with restrictions imposed by certain countries on the transportation of food and many boarders were closed. There was also a decrease in demand because of the closure of many businesses within the hospitality sector and there was no longer a need for managers to purchase their regular produce. This lack of demand caused devastating financial losses for many farmers but using local produce will enable them to get back on track again.
It’s not only important to support local farmers to help them make up their losses but supporting locally is usually much more sustainable and research has shown that being sustainable is more important than ever to consumers. A 2020 survey conducted by Accenture, found that 60% of consumers reported making more environmentally friendly and sustainable purchases since the start of the pandemic and 9 out of 10 stated they will continue to do so.
Consumers are starting to think about the choices they make and you should too. These statistics show there is a high demand to be more sustainable and this should be carefully considered. By thinking about the source of your produce you may be making it more desirable to attendees which could result in more revenue. Which can only be a good thing, right?
The pandemic also had consumers thinking about another issue surrounding food production, food Miles and their carbon impact.
Food miles refers to the distance food is transported from the time of production all the way until it reaches the consumer. Therefore, the further the produce has travelled, the higher the carbon impact and its negative effect on our environment. It’s important we all take action to help reduce our carbon footprints and limit these devastating impacts such as climate change. By using local farmers as food suppliers for events you’re not only helping support them and the local economy, but you’re also helping to reduce a number of carbon footprints.
What are some current examples of sustainable events?
A really good example of an event that heavily considers sustainability is Shambala. Shambala is an annual four-day festival held in Northamptonshire within the UK which usually holds around 15,000 attendees. It is a completely meat and fish free event and has been since 2016. They believe that by being more considerate with their food production, they can significantly lower the environmental impacts of their event.
Event managers at Shambala set a minimum standard for their potential food vendors and have strict ethics around sourcing food. To be offered a pitch to cater at the event, food vendors must be able to prove they use organic, Fairtrade and local supplies wherever possible. This ensures they know exactly where the food is sourced from and that their strict ethics are being followed, helping them lower the environmental impacts of their event. These system seem to have worked as the festival has managed to lower its carbon food print by a huge 80%!
What can we do now?
There a few different things you could do as a manager to ensure you’re better supporting your local food industry.
Implement a minimum food standard.
Firstly, you could take inspiration from the event managers at Shambala festival and implement strict guidance to your food vendors that they use local food sources. By setting a minimum standard for your food vendors, you can ensure you know exactly where the food was sourced from while supporting locally and ethically. Using local farmers and their produce could create a safety blanket for attendees and may create a topic of conversation to get others thinking about those worrying impacts.
Use resources such as Cotswold Taste
Cotswold Taste is a company based within the Cotswolds, an area in south central west midlands and South West England in the UK. The aim of their company is to bring together local food and drinks suppliers that they may not have otherwise had connections together. Cotswold Taste is a member owned co-operative and provides vital advice, business, marketing and promotional support to its members and food chain producers.
If you as a manager used a similar tool when looking for food vendors for your event it would enable you to find local farms and businesses you may have not known about otherwise. Using these kind of platforms will give you opportunities to make new connections and build your client base while allowing you to ensure you’re supporting local, so everybody wins!
By helping them, you’re helping our environment!
Would you be more likely to attend an event if you knew it was supporting local businesses?
Will you now think more about where your produce has come from and what this could mean?
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments down below!