The Return of the Artisan
You would think that the very brief flirtation with mass production of food that we have recently experienced was the whole history of food consumption and production, to hear some popular chefs and commentators. The truth is that fast food, ready meals and the methods of farming and producing them are very, very new. Our flirtation has been intense, but relatively short lived. Mass produced foods were never going to be much more than our ‘bit on the side’. Yes, we might sneak off for a KFC occasionally, or guiltily spend a moment or two with Mr Whippy, yet at the end of the day, for many people, home-cooked is best.
Enter, or re-enter, the Artisan method of production. Artisan bakery, cookery and even Artisan Ice Cream are all phrases that are becoming common. The thing about the word Artisan is that it is somehow wholesome. This is how food should be and certainly how it used to be! Consumers love it. Perhaps they love it peintre 95 because it feels like they are supporting a good cause. Somewhere in ‘Merry England’ a poor farmer and his family will eat for another day. There’s some truth in this. Farming in the UK has faced the challenge of mass production bravely. The rise of small scale ‘artisan’ produce and the Farmer’s Market has illustrated two things: one, that as a method of food production it is not only viable, but can create profits where none were to be found; two, there is a massive market out there for all things ‘home-made’. Dairy producers are a great example of this new trend in farm diversification, dairy farms faced with little or no profit from selling to big super-markets have turned to producing specialist products ranging from artisan cheeses to artisan ice-creams.
Ice Scream, You Scream, We’d all Scream if we knew what went into it.
Ice Cream is a great example of the rise of small scale Artisan production. It’s not a bad example of why not to buy the mass produced versions either. Mass produced ice cream contains various cheap emulsifiers, hydrogenated fats – yes, the worst kind – and other unpleasant preservatives. The Artisan variety contains what you would expect: diary produce – cream, milk and eggs. People can get a bit wary when it comes to dairy produce – after all it does contain fat doesn’t it? It does, but the point of Artisan Ice Cream, like other small-scale production foods, is that it contains natural produce: the natural fats in dairy are the sort that our bodies need, and unlike the modified forms they are not bad for us. The result is that are a growing number of small producers who can supply original, unique and delicious variations on this ever popular sweet.
In a Hurry? Don’t get (Mc)Flurried.
Cafe and Restaurant owners will already know that one of the hottest selling deserts or snacks is ice-cream. Adding unique desserts with that ‘home-made’ feel is now easier than ever. There are a range of manufacturers who can supply equipment to produce Artisan standard products on your own premises, allowing you to easily add a specialist range of your own ice creams, sorbet, frozen yogurts; it is products like this that will not only get your customers talking about you but returning time after time and recommending you. Artisan products, including ice-creams, on the menu, increasingly give the edge to small businesses looking to compete with other outlets – small and large. Consumers today, will more often than not, choose the unique, the original and the home made over known brands. Locally sourced, home-made, Artisan produced, unique and healthy? These types of food sell themselves.