Local Foods: The Future of Supermarkets - An Interview with Ryan Kimura

Article By Jessie Caines; Photo Credit to localfoods.com

Ryan Kimura is the CIO/CMO and co-founder of Local Foods, a sustainable supermarket connected to a network of environmentally conscious food servicers in the Midwest. Local Foods, as its name suggests, emphasizes the sourcing of its products from food producers and processors in the area, allowing them to limit the food miles of what they sell.  Many large distributors in the food industry are guilty of letting the issue of food miles (how far the food travels until it is consumed) fall out of their focus.

Ryan suggests that making sustainable companies like Local Foods accessible to the average person necessitates scaling up to meet the expectations that most people have of a supermarket. Most people are not willing to change their own routines to benefit the environment even if they are aware of the consequences of their actions. So Local Foods’ solution is to meet them halfway by providing everything a typical supermarket would, but without the added guilt of typically unsustainable products that one might purchase elsewhere.

Many groups working in the sustainable food industry struggle with how normalized our detrimental food system is; Ryan stresses that his hope for the future of the food industry included true transparency from providers to consumers, and truly shifting the norm to sustainable food. A common misconception of the sustainable food industry is that they’re limited by the amount of providers to source from; Ryan clarified that there is much room to grow and that Local Foods is not concerned with all the possible providers. Though it might not be an easy task to change the industrial food system, Ryan is confident that it can be done, though it make take a while.  As he puts it: “It took decades to build up the industrial food system; it’ll take that long to break it down.”

Local Foods has gone far beyond the responsibilities of a typical supermarket, caring deeply about their products and what happens to them every step of journey to the consumer. They are a community hot spot that frequently host events on site promoting sustainability and great food! We at Next Bites hope to continue to see great things from them! If you have any additional questions or wish to contact Local Foods, you can email them at info@localfoods.com. Or check out their upcoming events here: http://localfoods.com/events/


Check out some of Ryan’s favorite sustainable restaurants in the city: Lula and Big Jones. Or for restaurants all around the US, try the website http://goodfood100restaurants.org/ also as recommended by Ryan.