The objective of this study is to examine purchasing practices of restaurants and food service institutions in relation to locally produced fresh vegetables. The sample for the study included managers of seventy-five restaurants and dining centers out of a total of nearly 600 food service outlets in a mid-size metropolitan city in Midwest region of the United States with a population of about 400,000. The study findings showed differences between national/regional chains and the local independently owned restaurants. Although managers across the board expressed willingness to buy local, actual purchasing decisions were largely driven by freshness, quality and availability. Price was not as critical a factor as others including variety and selection. The results suggested that local vegetable producers should use regularity, quality, and freshness to differentiate themselves. As a producer of small volume of fresh vegetables, local farmers have much higher probability of success if they supply to locally and independently owned restaurants. These restaurants use small volume of vegetables in broader variety.


Agribusiness, Education, and Communication

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locally produced, chain restaurants, locally owned restaurants

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Journal of Food Distribution Research