Natural, organic and cage-free are becoming commonly used terms in a world full of consumers increasingly interested in the source of their food. No surprise, restaurateurs are also fielding consumers' concerns as they determine menus and obtain suppliers.
Kerry Kramp, president and CEO of Sizzler, USA, says it's becoming harder to meet guests' demands for information about where their food comes from.
"Kind of a challenge for us is we find we have less than a fully-informed consumer who is probably subject to a lot of media information that will influence their purchasing and consuming habits," Kramp says. "The buzz words like all-natural, organic, locally sourced, farm-to-table, cage free – they hear those all the time and then they begin to think, 'Boy, those must be healthier because that's what's being pointed out as things we should be eating.'"
Kramp shared his thoughts during a Tuesday webinar that focused on bridging the gap between restaurant operators and their farmer-suppliers.
The webinar, which was sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Rancher's Alliance and presented by Penton Media, also included Laura Foell, corn and soybean farmer from Iowa; Randy Spronk, president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council and farmer from Edgerton, Minn.; and Jim Doak, vice president of menu innovation for Ignite Restaurant Group.
Both Kramp and Doak explained that as restaurant operators, it was important to them to both develop long-term relationships with their suppliers and help educate customers about the effects of their food choices.