Meet the Demand for Organic
Eleonora has a degree in Food Science and is a Certified Baker from the American Institute of Baking, with management studies in Barcelona, Spain. She has experience working with leading global food companies in research & development, technical sales, consumer engagement and catering.
Why do you think consumers are choosing more organic products?
Consumer awareness about what they put in their bodies has grown significantly. Today it’s less about calories and more about giving an importance to foods with healthful components. Nutrition is the goal. Consumers seek out organic products because over the past 20 years they’ve become more educated about the diet-health connection.
Another factor is that many consumers choose organic products because of their concern for the environment. They believe eating more organic foods is part of living a more sustainable, environmentally-conscious life.
The fact is, organic foods are no longer a niche market. According to Food Navigator USA, the usage of organic foods climbed 30% between 2010 and 2017 with millennial parents being the largest purchasers of organic, per the Organic Trade Association.
What tips do you have for operators to market organic offerings in their restaurants?
It is to the operator’s overall benefit to adapt, not only because the trend has grown exponentially, but also because organic descriptors enhance taste perceptions among guests. Changes like substituting organic raw cane sugar for white granulated sugar can make a difference.
Offering organic menu items conveys an origin story that younger customers find appealing. Millennial parents are also sparked by the thought that operators are providing organic choices for their children. The downside of the organic wave is availability and price fluctuation. A good tip is to collaborate with companies that can deliver consistently at reasonable prices.
What does the future hold for sugar?
A trend we see is consumers increasingly choosing golden and brown sugars over white. Turbinado, or raw-style sugar, has been around for years and become quite popular for sweetening hot beverages. But now consumers are taking the next step by switching to unrefined sugars, such as raw cane sugar which is harvested and milled on the same day. The great thing about unrefined sugars is they have greater retention of the cane molasses found naturally in sugarcane. The molasses flavor elevates dishes by enhancing color, taste and texture. Use of these unrefined sugars will allow for lots of exciting menu innovations. For example, you can create a flavorful simple syrup made from turbinado sugar, water and cinnamon sticks, or you can add whole raw cane sugar to a sauce for pork. (Whole raw cane sugar and pork is a match made in heaven!)