25th May 2023

Kent has a vibrant local food, drink and artisan product offering. Visitors tell us it is one of the key reasons why they visit: they want to sample and hear the stories behind our unique and delicious local produce.

Adding local, seasonal and organic produce to your shop, menus and visitor experience is a win-win for your business, the local community and visitors alike. It helps you differentiate in an authentic way as well as tapping into the wider trend for healthier living.

Using more local produce also helps reduce carbon emissions and ‘food miles’ as it hasn’t travelled as far to get to you. It is also usually less energy intensive to produce.

Use our ten top tips below to help introduce more local, seasonal and sustainable products into your visitor experience:

  • 1. Sustainable, organic, local and independently owned businesses

    Look for sustainable, organic, local and independently owned businesses producing food, drink and crafts; working hard to make a positive impact socially and environmentally.

  • 2. Produced in Kent

    Produced in Kent is a trade organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting all types of food, drink and craft. You can use the website to find Kent’s local and sustainable produce. Think about incorporating more local produce from these local organisations into your business. Direct visitors to local producers by signposting on your website or sharing and displaying information when visitors are on site. If you are a food-serving hospitality outlet you might like to consider joining Produced in Kent as a member.

  • 3. Seasonal eating

    We’ve all become accustomed to eating the fruit and veg we desire regardless of the time of year. Instead, embrace seasonal eating and encourage your visitors to do the same to celebrate the very best of Kent. Use this useful calendar to see what’s in season and when.

  • 4. Taste of Kent Awards

    Taste of Kent Awards: Run by Produced in Kent, these awards celebrate the very best of Kent’s local producers. From 2023, the judging criteria also include a heavy focus on sustainability. The Taste of Kent Festival will take place for the first time in summer 2023 and will be open to anyone interested in sampling delicious local food and drink products. Why not head along, meet the producers and be inspired as to how you can incorporate more local food and drink into your visitor experience?

  • 5. Increase plant-based produce

    To truly reduce carbon emissions and our impact on nature, we need to be eating more plant-based food. Using more fresh local plant-based produce in your menus and food offerings can encourage visitors to reduce their ‘food print’. Get creative, work with chefs and collaborate with local food businesses to introduce plant-based dishes wherever possible.

    This is not to say that every tourism business must become vegan or vegetarian tomorrow. Kent has some wonderful dairy and meat producers who are working to bring us delicious local produce that is reared and cultivated in a more sustainable way. These local businesses should be celebrated and encouraged alongside more plant-based choices too.

  • 6. Grow you own

    Consider planting a vegetable patch – starting small with easy-to-grow vegetables and fruit. Why not get staff involved and make it a focal point for visitors too – offering a chance to pick their own surplus produce or a place to sit quietly. If you are a hospitality business, being able to offer home-grown produce on the menu is a unique selling point, plus it’ll be more delicious and fresh too.

  • 7. Fish for good

    Overfishing in our oceans is rife. Check out WWF’s tips on making environmentally responsible seafood choices and buy well-managed local seafood.

  • 8. Food waste

    A third of the food produced is wasted and this has a huge impact on nature and the climate crisis. As businesses and as individuals we must take action to help reduce the amount of food wasted. Read our tips here.

    Embrace local businesses who are finding innovative ways to use food waste and contribute to a more circular economy. Be sure to check out the Food Loop app – set up by Produced in Kent, the app brings together organisations wanting to reduce food waste by matching those in need with those who have surplus food produce. You might also consider signing up to the Too Good to Go App which will allow you to make a profit from surplus food.

  • 9. Plastic free

    Plastic food packaging is a huge problem. Avoid produce that is heavily wrapped in plastic and once you’ve done all you can to reduce, be sure to recycle as much of the packaging as possible. Read our tips on waste reduction, including plastics here.

  • 10. Ethical supply chains

    The UK is on the brink of wider regulation around food products that have an impact on deforestation, locally or globally. Being aware of the impacts of some common everyday items that we use regularly in tourism businesses such as palm oil, coffee and chocolate will become increasingly important.

    You can read more about what to look out for in our tips on ethical supply chains section. This page also includes important advice on how to ensure the food products you buy are paying fair wages to workers and respecting human rights.

Further information

Read more tips and information on how to become a more sustainable business in our Impacts Resources Hub.

Read inspiring stories from our Impact Heroes where we detail exciting organisations that have taken action on sustainability.

If you have taken action to be more sustainable in your business, we’d love to hear more. Please get in touch with enquiries@visitkent.co.uk