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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business
    The Honourable Jan Jarratt

    Local chefs back local growers

    Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business
    The Honourable Jan Jarratt

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Local chefs back local growers

    Sunshine Coast and Gympie cafes and restaurants are overwhelmingly buying locally-grown foods and there’s a growing an appetite for more.

    Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Minister Jan Jarratt said this was the message from a survey conducted by the Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).

    Ms Jarratt said the Creating Local Food Connections Survey captured the attitudes and purchasing behaviours of 103 local restaurants, cafes and catering organisations and was an important step in strengthening local food connections.

    “The majority of survey respondents - 92% - purchase local foods, with 74% saying they are committed to purchasing local foods and this is a significant message for local growers,” Ms Jarratt said.

    Anita Smiley, from Maudy’s Restaurant in Maleny, took part in the survey and feels very passionately about purchasing local wherever possible.

    “The old saying ‘fresh is best’ still rings true and both flavour and quality is one hundred times better than frozen foods or foods that have travelled long distance,” Mrs Smiley said.

    “We purchase lettuce from the farm down the valley and get most of our fruit and vegetables from the local shop, and our local butcher supplies all our meats.

    “We participated in the online survey as it fits in nicely with the local food movement with the Real Food Festival coming up, and we just hope our answers help.”

    Ms Jarratt said the detail provided by local chefs and restaurant managers regarding any difficulties in sourcing local foods would inform region-wide strategies and intervention programs by government to assist the local food sector.

    DEEDI Sunshine Coast Centre Acting Director Brian Stockwell said this survey complements a similar survey being conducted to better understand the needs of local producers.

    “While committed to local food suppliers, often chefs and/or restaurant managers had difficulty in knowing where to source local foods, or had difficulties with inconsistent supplies,” Mr Stockwell said.

    “Restaurants and cafes also indicated they were affected by the downturn in tourism, so general economic conditions and rising overheads were also highlighted as concerns for the industry.

    “However with such positive behaviours being demonstrated towards sourcing local foods, there is an enormous opportunity to better link local growers with local food outlets and help overcome the barriers identified.”

    The survey is online at http://www.boardroombusiness.com.au/localfoodsurvey

    It was conducted on behalf of DEEDI by Boardroom Business, a Sunshine Coast market research company.

    Media contact: 3224 2004