It's the big bang for organic! The Germans' desire for organic products has never been greater. But while the demand in the supermarket is high, the share in the out-of-home market is small. Why gastro-professionals of all people should start now - and what they can gain from it.
This text was first published in the April issue of gv-praxis as part of the special "Clear the way: Organic is coming! (German) Read now!
"Putting good food on the plate" is currently high on consumers' minds, observes Patrick Wodni, deputy project manager at Kantine Zukunft in Berlin. And organic currently seems to be the godfather for the good in the shopping basket. How else can the historic 22 percent increase in sales of organic products last year be explained?
Why does a rapidly growing hotel chain like Motel One consistently and very successfully rely on organic for breakfast? Yes, and why does one of the best restaurants in the world, Maaemo in Norway's capital Oslo, rely on organic? And why does a university restaurant chef like Stefan Gerhardt in Braunschweig, in the price-driven education market, suddenly start to consistently swear his offer to organic? But the biggest question remains: Why haven't more restaurateurs followed these examples so far? The answers are complex. Too expensive, not sexy enough and too elaborate are just some of the arguments that justified a "carry on like this" before the Corona crisis.
The great opportunities in change
The facts speak for themselves: two thirds of us now regularly reach for fruit and vegetables from organic farmers - and one in two satisfies their meat cravings with schnitzel, sausage and steak from organic pigs and cattle, according to the figures from a representative online survey by management consultants Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC). In addition, the vast majority would like to see more animal welfare on the plate. The question is therefore, according to Wodni, do I want to stay where I am or evolve with the times? In many company restaurants, he says, only about half of the workforce is being reached. "Why is that, really?" he asks somewhat provocatively.
And there is still room for improvement in many gastronomic concepts. Here it is worth taking a closer look, says Wodni, who sees great opportunities in "change". Conquering new target groups and sales and making a statement for sustainability - internally and externally. These are weighty reasons for the new composition of the food offer with organic and further trendy ingredients such as plant-based, healthy food or a good portion of homeland feeling - depending on the guest target group.
Tipping point reached
" Organic farming protects the climate and promotes biodiversity in the fields," says Rainer Roehl - and says all the scientific research and studies of recent years. And there have been many. At the same time, there is more animal welfare in favour of organic farming. But in the end, what counts for the guest is the taste on the plate. "Here, too, organic comes off better," judges the organic expert. In the vanilla ice cream check of the FAZ, the 13 most important varieties were tested in 2017. The first three places were taken by organic manufacturers, says Roehl. Whether organic apple or steak, you can taste the difference. Even with French fries, you can feel the different (potato) quality.
Many arguments speak for organic. This is probably one of the reasons why many federal states and municipalities have set out to push the use of organic in gastronomy and canteen kitchens. Especially ambitious: Bavaria. The state is aiming for an organic share of at least 50 percent of the value of goods by 2025 and is considered a nationwide pioneer. So why don't we just get started? "The guest will reward it more than ever", Rainer Roehl and Patrick Wodni agree. The conditions for a restart per quality and sustainability have never been better.