Culinary Industry Goes Green with Organic Foods

In the United States, the demand for organic foods is increasing. The public's desire to eat and live in a healthier way is increasing, as people take particular notice of the origin of the food they purchase and consume. Organic foods are regulated by the government, which sets standards for production, handling, and labeling. More grocery stores are now selling organic foods, and restaurants are answering the call for organic menu items as well.

Chefs Take Note: Organic Food Industry Data

According to the Organic Trade Association, consumer sales of organic food in 2005 were $13.8 billion. Of this amount, fruit and vegetables claimed 39% of the market, with dairy products coming in second place. While 47% of the sales were at natural food stores, the other half took place at mainstream locales, including supermarkets and club stores. Chefs are responding to this demand with the creation of organic food cookbooks, and televised culinary shows promote chefs utilizing organic ingredients.

Restaurants Acknowledge Organic Food Popularity

Organic foods have already entered the restaurant environment and will continue to increase in popularity. The National Restaurant Association's 2007 Restaurant Industry Forecast states that "organic items are growing in popularity across the board at tableservice restaurants. Among fine dining restaurants that currently serve organic items (more than six out of 10), 52 percent expect higher sales in 2007; 42 percent of casual dining restaurants that serve organic menu items (four out of 10) expect them to grow; and 27 percent of family dining restaurants (currently, three out of 10 offer organic items) report similarly."

As Americans examine their eating habits, the culinary world must continue to respond with new recipes and restaurants offering additional menu selections.