Foodie Culture

By on Feb 11, 2019 in News

Food continues to be a hot topic in senior living. Television personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern ignited the modern “foodie” culture. Their meals dripped with excitement and worldliness. Under such influences, aging Boomers have high expectations for their dining options. Senior living experts will have to keep up with costs and trends to appease them.

Rising Costs

Food costs are at an historic high. Prices have risen an average 2.6 percent each year over the last 20 years. Long term, prices will continue to rise.seniors-eating-senior-living-food

A survey  by senior living association Argentum reveals that 51 percent of industry decision-makers agree that their average food costs increased in the past year. Organizations are seeking alternative methods improve cost efficiencies.

Local Sourcing: Cost-Saving, Community Friendly

Local food sources provided one way for 29 percent of organizations to cut costs. By decreasing storage and transportation expenses, locally-sourced foods can cost less. More than 75 percent of respondents currently offer locally-sourced produce. Nearly 55 percent offer locally sourced animal proteins.

Local sourcing also appeals to the current trend in foodie culture that cherishes farm-to-table preparation. This more sustainable option promotes in-season, small batch fare. The quality of such local foods is more easily controlled and verified.

Additionally, local sourcing reflects a growing concern for local economies. Nearly 25 percent of respondents that serve local produce do so to support other neighboring businesses. For 15 percent of senior living communities, locally-sourced goods are a point of differentiation against competitors.

Stop Food Waste to Slash Costs

Worldwide, over one-third of food  is wasted. Americans alone toss up to 40 percent of their food purchases into the trash. Decreasing food waste ensures that food fills bellies instead of trash cans.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents are using food waste tracking to save money in 2019. Waste prevention methods include:

  • buying fresher, smaller quantities of ingredients to minimize waste
  • decreasing or eliminating buffet options
  • using “ugly produce,” perfectly delicious and edible foods that don’t fit supermarket aesthetics
  • creating and sourcing from community gardens
  • composting scraps for community gardens

The attention to food waste in senior living communities echoes the larger global trend. Several websites, blogs, and apps are geared towards decreasing food waste without cutting back on nourishment.

Foodies have also rediscovered the beauty of nose-to-tail preparation of animal proteins. From fine dining to food trucks, working class foods such as tripe, marrow, and pork belly have made their way onto menus. Several businesses such as Imperfect, Misfits, and Hungry Harvest successfully capitalize on ugly produce. Such concepts promote the idea of eating what is nutritious and edible, not just want is pretty.

As food costs continue to rise, senior living decision-makers accommodate residents’ discerning palates–and consciences—switch to sustainable food sourcing and distribution.