Anyone who eats (everyone) and chooses to support independent businesses that are obsessed with small batch quality can help transform the food industry as a whole. We did not evolve to consume products mass produced in a factory. It is important to savor every minute of the day while you play, so why replace each minute passing with anything less than real food made by real people?
Food was never intended to be made by robots and big appliances. The best ingredients only matter as much as the recipe. The process is just as important as the ingredients–we all know it’s impossible to streamline the family recipe for a for your grandmother’s buche de noel Good food takes time. Sally Fallon, food rebel, author and founder of the Weston A Price Organization shares many stories about what Dr. Price discovered in his travels around the world but one of a particular note was in South America, a conversation with a man stone grinding his corn. When asked why he didn’t he prepare it in large quantities to be more efficient, the elderly man just answered “no good, something lost”. The magic the elderly man understood was in the freshly prepared and slowly managed dish. Attention to detail is achievable and unavoidable in a small batch kitchen. Quality trumps speed. Innovation is second to nourishment.
“Here at Kate’s we make bars fresh every day. The care we put into our bars, and the training we do with every employee to prepare our small batches just right, makes all the difference in the taste and texture of our bars. That is why they taste home-made!”~ Kate Schade, Founder of Kate’s Real Food
The business side of small batch operations is not small potatoes. Here’s a snapshot from Chicago Business Magazine about the nature of small batch business trends: “In 2013, the niche is heating up, fueled by a growing appetite for locally produced items and consumers’ willingness to shell out a little bit more for high-quality and natural eats. U.S. sales of specialty foods and beverages, including imports, rose 14.3 percent to $86 billion in 2012, more than double the 6.8 percent increase in the prior year, according to research released in August by Mintel Group Ltd., a London-based market research firm. This accounts for slightly more than 13 percent of all food sales. Nearly 75 percent of consumers said they made a specialty food purchase last year, up 29 percent from 2009, according to Mintel. Despite the growth in purchasing, bringing a specialty product to market is a tough sell. Many small-batch producers use premium, natural ingredients, which often cost more and don’t contain the preservatives that extend shelf life. Small producers lack the purchasing power of their conventional counterparts, say food industry watchers, and slotting and marketing fees charged by national retailers can be cost-prohibitive for the small producer. Competition is fierce, with 15,000 food and beverage companies entering the market each year, according to industry estimates. Chicago based Urban Accents’ Mr. Knibbs says he regularly encourages would-be foodmakers to jump in. “If you can make a good product, you can figure it out,” he says. ‘You have to have passion.’”
These are big numbers for what the industry considers mom and pop. But guess what—small business is what keeps an economy moving forward, passion really does push us forward. A quick review of the economics of the situation: It turns out that small businesses account for more than large businesses with a higher population, and produce more goods and services. Small businesses create jobs at a faster pace too. Small businesses account for 60 percent of U.S. GDP and have created 93 percent of the new jobs in America since 1989…and still you ask why is it so important to opt for the small batch option?
Well first: The butterfly effect for an independent business is the impact on that entire community—the dollar is circulated into that business’s main street—the dollar invested right there on the spot into an employee—people, not a corporation. They say if you spend $100 locally, about $87 stays in that community.
And second: Choices in a small batch business are made for quality, not bottom line. Just like original recipes rooted in culture and in tradition, a business that can continue to adhere to its standards is a company built on passion—and that’s something worth consuming every day.
Dr. Weston Price was a dentist who traveled the world in search of answers about tooth decay in between World War I and World War II. What he discovered was nutrition trends across the globe amongst traditional cultures with traditional diets. As he learned about the different dietary practices of Maori, Inuit, Swiss, Masai, he also witnessed the power of small communities providing healthy and balanced infrastructure for everyone to thrive economically and socially. Everyone participates in the harvest dinner, in the baking of the bread, in the hunt for big game. Nothing was ever mass produced and recipes were maintained to be simple and effective—to produce the best results which was to keep people healthy and satisfied. And that’s what we’re going for here at KRF, keeping people healthy and satisfied.
“Small Batch” is misleading, if anything it’s fierce and strong, not small.