Industrial processes measure “Quality” in terms of consistency.  If every item the process produces is exactly the same, then the process is said to be of high quality.

This is how industrial food processes work.  They focus on producing large volumes of food that is consistent in its appearance, taste, etc.  This is what the supermarkets mean by “high quality food”.  Unfortunately, most such food is also consistently bland.  It’s all been bred for consistency and high volumes rather than for taste.  It’s been bred for easy handling in the industrial processing and supply chains.

Local food can be different.  For example:

  1. It can be grown and harvested in small batches.  Each batch is timed to become available at different points in the season.  This ensures that food is available across a longer period.  It also ensures that each batch is picked just when it’s ready.
  2. It’s seasonal.  It will only be available at the height of its taste cycle.
  3. It can be bred for taste.  Relieved of the imperative to deliver large volumes of consistent produce, farmers can begin to select varieties for flavour.
  4. It spends less time in transit and storage.  Food degrades rapidly over time.  We aim to deliver it when it’s at its freshest and tastiest.  (This also means that the food is less reliant on preservatives and other additives.)

Local food may be more variable than industrial food.  It’s produced in smaller batches.  It’s attuned to local conditions.  It varies with the seasons, weather, etc.  This is the antithesis of industrial quality.  But it’s from that variability that we gain better taste.