Here’s how artisan producers are driving food trends in Ireland
Artisan producers are driving food trends in hospitality and beyond in Ireland, writes food and wellness consultant Aisling Larkin. Here, she shares her thoughts on the matter. Partner content with the Hospitality Expo.
As a food consultant, artisan producers are the cornerstone of my business. Discernment has always been a key value of mine and without quality raw material and an engaging narrative, my job becomes increasingly difficult. Collaborating with and celebrating artisan producers in media and at events is the highlight of my week. Taking a moment to reflect, there are a myriad of reasons why artisan producers are integral to Ireland’s hospitality industry.
In an era where consumers increasingly crave authentic and unique experiences, businesses within the hospitality industry have found a powerful tool in artisan products. This narrative and its impact goes beyond just the plate and also extends into the beverage industry, where distillers, brewers, and winemakers are creating libations that appeal to a curious audience.
Irish food producers are an integral part of tourism in Ireland and our hospitality sector is the most obvious place to harness, celebrate and capitalise on this. With joined-up thinking, strategy and vision from the likes of Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, there are growing numbers of culinary-based experiences that showcase local food and drink. In an era where consumers crave and seek out unique experiences, the use of artisan products allows businesses to differentiate themselves. The inclusion of artisan offerings creates a narrative that resonates with consumers - it creates a sense of connection, loyalty and kinship over a shared respect for the work of the producer and the product. Artisan producers are at the forefront of producing modern and impressive small-batch items. The excitement and intrigue surrounding these artisanal products can add an extra layer to the consumer's experience, elevating it beyond the ordinary.
Terroir and provenance take centre stage when we consider the value of Irish artisan producers in hospitality. They are the primary connection to Ireland's soil, landscape, heritage, traditions, and culture, which sets Irish hospitality apart from others. With the ongoing rise of experiential tourism, local artisan producers emerge as key players in shaping the allure of the Irish hospitality industry for the future.
Additionally, wellness trends are here to stay. The hospitality industry can again use artisanal and local producers to bolster their commitment to this consumer demand. By providing access to unique Irish local products that support wellness, like fermented foods, seaweeds, and protein products, the industry has responded powerfully to ever-evolving consumer trends.
As consumers become more conscious and deliberate in their choices, sustainability has emerged as a key value that artisan producers bring to the hospitality industry. By adopting sustainable practices through supply chain, sourcing ingredients, packaging and logistics, the hospitality industry can align with the demands of the consumer landscape. Artisanal production, by its very nature, prioritises environmentally friendly practices, responsible ingredient sourcing, and minimising carbon footprints. This commitment aligns seamlessly with the growing demand for socially responsible products, creating authentic and symbiotic relationships that reflect consumers’ respect. It is a genuine symbiotic relationship that we within the industry need to nurture and celebrate continually.
Catch Aisling at Hospitality Expo 2024 at the RDS on Tuesday, February 20th and Wednesday, February 21st. Register for your free tickets here and join the largest gathering of hospitality professionals in 2024.