Kilometre 0 food: better quality, fresh and local
Kilometre zero food, also known as «short chain» came around with the «Slow Food» concept in the nineties with the objective of promoting quality, ecological and local food. It is commercialised locally and products are fresher and closer to consumers. Those food products are quite sought after at the moment because they represent healthy food that is better on an environmental and economic point of view. Indeed, the impact on ecology is reduced regarding the handling, packaging and transport of raw materials for thousands of kilometres.
Advantages of consuming kilometre zero food
This type of production is more and more in demand in countries such as Great Britain, Italy or France. As distances are reduced, international transport is minimal, as well as emission of greenhouse gasses that affect climate change, food loss or the movement of species from their place of origin that become invading species in their new territory. Another advantage of kilometre zero food is that as they have just been harvested, fruits and vegetables do not need preservatives or freezing, no chemical additives are used, or herbicides, pesticides, added fat, hormones or antibiotics. Therefore, it contributes to food safety and therefore they are of better quality, they have more flavour and taste, as they are fresh products. Economy is the other important factor. This type of production benefits the whole community as it maintains and reinforces the local economy, especially small and medium size producers. Furthermore, the consumer can also save money by becoming a kilometre zero producer by growing his own garden. In addition to those factors, we need to add the fact that consumers are more and more preoccupied about eating healthy and they like to be informed about the origin and the method of elaboration of their food. This is why kilometre 0 food also has a label that provides detailed information. Furthermore, those products are cheaper as there are fewer middlemen for commercialisation, transport and distribution.
Products with labels
Consumers have various ways of checking the information on a product. Labels or certificates are the main ones and therefore, kilometre zero food producers took various measures in order to have specific labels. The European Commission published a survey at the end of 2013 that indicated that agricultural products that are sold directly or locally have to be labelled. It also indicated that consumers from the European Union ask more and more for «quality, fresh and local products». On the other hand, in Slow Food restaurants, there are labels that certify that they serve products that comply with kilometre zero characteristics. In order to have the label, they must include on their menu at least five kilometre zero dishes, a minimum of 40% of their ingredients must be local, they must recycle their waste and the chef must be a member of the Slow Food movement.