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Putting local food on the menu: comparing the food purchasing practices of Vancouver’s Chinese and fine dining restaurants

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In recent years, the concept of local food has attracted a great amount of attention. Little is known, however, about the organization and particular characteristics of local agrifood systems in different regions. This research paper examines the extent to which Chinese and fine dining restaurants in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), purchase products from the local BC food system. The study also explores what factors affect the food purchasing practices, marketing strategies and supply chains of the two restaurant groups. Findings are based on data from a representative sample (n=79) and self-completion survey. Three-fifths of Chinese restaurants report sourcing over 60% of their annual food purchases from BC compared to one-third of fine dining restaurants. The difference in local food purchasing practices is not simply one of ethnic and non-ethnic cuisine types and differing food cultures. Less expensive restaurants in both groups are more likely to source local food.
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