By 2030, increased square footage and overall accessibility of commercial kitchens and operators to support local food processors and agricultural-related facilities in meeting local food needs.
photo credit: Maui Food Innovation Center
Food processing is a critical component of the local food system. Food processing in Hawai‘i includes agriculture-related facilities, dairies, packaging facilities, and commercial kitchens. Agriculture-related facilities, such as vacuum cooling plants, slaughterhouses, experimental stations and marshalling yards, serve as centers for farmers.
Currently, there are ten facilities, four on Hawai‘i Island (State of Hawaii Agricultural Resource Management Division, 2018). Increasing the number of processing facilities in Hawai‘i will support the increase of local production, particularly for local beef and milk.
Commercial kitchens support small business owners in preparing high quality foods at a high volume for consumers. Commercial kitchens offer the required space and professional-grade equipment without disturbing the flow of traffic around the kitchen to efficiently process food for consumption. Every brick and mortar restaurant is a commercial kitchen but these kitchens are not open to the public. However, there are commercial kitchens for rent for public use. The Pacific Gateway Center on Oahu offers 12,576 square feet of commercial kitchen availability through their 11 commercial kitchens available for hourly rental. These kitchens are all certified by Hawaiʻi Health Department. The total number of commercial kitchens and square footage in Hawai‘i is unknown.
While the goal of doubling local food is focused on “fresh local” food such as fruits, vegetables, diary, and proteins, value added products can provide much needed additional income for food entrepreneurs. Access to commercial kitchens and processing facilities for smaller farms in a shared cooperative atmosphere could spur growth, whether it’s through restaurants with down time leasing to other parties or commercial kitchens built specifically to use on a part time basis. The total number of commercial kitchens and packaging facilities is not known, however the Hawai‘i Food Manufacturing Association lists its registered members, and there are 102 food manufacturing companies as of 2018. These companies make “Made in Hawai‘i” products that may not be made of 100% local products, but are part of the economic engine to drive growth in the local food market.
Food Safety Modernization Act
Barriers to food production include changes in regulations and policies. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is one example, which was introduced in 2014 with the aim of shifting the focus from responding to food contamination to preventing contamination. The agricultural water requirements will affect local farmers because the new rules require frequent water testing throughout the year. Other aspects include biological soil amendments, rules to prevent the contamination of sprouts, contamination from domestic and wild animals, new requirements for worker hygiene and health, and new standards on equipment, tools, and buildings. Small farms in Hawai‘i are likely to struggle with these new regulations, while larger farms will likely be able to absorb the new costs. For more details, visit the FDA FSMA Information Page.
Learn More and Make a Difference
· Pacific Gateway Center offers 11 certified kitchens for food preparation https://www.pacificgatewaycenter.org/culinary-kitchen-incubator/
· To see a plethora of local products, participate in the 24th Annual Made in HI Festival (August 2018)
· More information about labelling Hawaiʻi’s commodities, and ensuring licensure and certification of local brands: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/qad/commodities-branch/
· Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/