From restaurants to online stores, ‘farm-to-table’ has become a social movement. The world has taken to it mainly for concerns over food provenance, the distance food travels to kitchen, and producers’ benefit.
It is said that American pioneer Alice Waters started a food revolution in 1971 with the opening of her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California.
She championed the serving of local in-season ingredients grown by local producers.
Farm-to-table restaurants grow their produce in their own farms. Most acquire them directly from local farmers. This helps in boosting the local economy and reduce carbon footprint.
Sourcing produce directly from farmers eliminates involvement of middlemen and reduces transport time. Most of all, nutrition is kept as intact as possible.
In India, the farm-to-table movement is set to revolutionize the restaurant business, claim reports.
Last year, Femina magazine named four restaurants which have started the initiative in India. In its article, The Table, Yogisattva, and Masque from Mumbai and Go Native of Bengaluru found mention.
According to a report in Ecoideaz, Delhi too has many food businesses that practice farm-to-table food preparation. “Caara Café is a good example since its creators believe that food should be “brought back to its origins”. The café is interested in making fast food healthy, giving Indians an opportunity to grab a quick bite and still enjoy delicious, locally-grown fruits and veggies,” said the report.
A similar transformation is taking place in China with the rise of online grocery shopping as the farm is being brought closer to the table.
The pandemic provided the catalyst for the change in consumer behaviour. While most consumers in China went online to buy their fresh produce out of necessity, many do it for the convenience and price. This has created an online grocery market that some analysts predict will be worth more than $120 billion by 2023.
Among the leading grocers serving this change in consumer behaviour is Pinduoduo, which operates China’s largest agricultural platform. It introduced Duo Duo Grocery, a next-day pick-up service in August 2020 in response to the pandemic, leveraging on the platform’s connection with 12 million farmers and 731 million consumer-base.
Consumers who use Duo Duo Grocery can place their orders through the main Pinduoduo smartphone app before 11 pm and pick up their order at a nearby collection point after 4pm the next day.
The consumers choose from a curated selection of produce from local farms. The orders are consolidated each night, and the freshly harvested produce are sent from farms to sorting stations, where the individual orders are packed and transported to the respective collection points.
The self-collection model also helps reduce the cost of logistics, as the “last mile” delivery to doorstep can account for 30% of the total delivery cost. This helps keeps prices low and affordable.