Innovate Blog
What is organic food and why has it become so popular?

Monday February 25, 2019

According to the Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report, sales of organic food to caterers grew almost 8 per cent to £90.9 million in the UK in 2018. They say that one of the main reasons why more consumers are choosing organic food is because they are becoming more aware of the process of how their food is produced.

So, what exactly does ‘organic’ food mean? Well, according to The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) it means ‘food that is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.’

In order for food to be labelled as organic, at least 95 per cent of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or animals. EU-wide rules require organic foods to be approved by an organic certification body, which carries out regular inspections to ensure the food meets a strict set of detailed regulations, relating to production methods and labelling.

The rising demand for organic food could also have something to with the fact there are considered to be many health benefits to eating it. In an article on news website TIME they say that organic food is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium, it has 50 per cent more omega-3 fatty acids(than non-organic) and less saturated fat.

Clare McDermott, business development director for Soil Association Certification, had the following to say on the increasing popularity of organic food: “We know that more shoppers are looking to purchase sustainable products to reduce their impact on the planet, and this has combined with an increasing value being placed on transparency and traceability in the food system, more local and online shopping, and increasing interest in healthy options – where organic is often seen as a signpost to healthy choice.”

Organic food has also seen growth in supermarkets where sales of organic products have grown by 4.2 per cent to £1.5 billion, while independents – delis, fine food stores, health shops, farm shops, farmers’ markets and retailers such as Whole Food Markets and Planet Organic – enjoyed a 9.7 per cent sales jump to £359 million. Home delivery services including box schemes saw a jump of 9.5 per cent to £286 million. All in all, organic food and drink has been growing across all sectors.

If you are looking to create dishes for consumers with organic ingredients then make sure to look out for food that is labelled organic and certified by the Soil Association (leading organic certifier for food, farming, catering, health and beauty, textiles and forestry).

If you’re serving organic food for your customers to enjoy on-the-go, then you should consider serving in a more sustainable food packaging choice. As previously mentioned by Clare McDermott from Soil Association, the rising demand for organic food is linked with a preference for more sustainable products.

At Bunzl Catering Supplies we have a wide variety of food packaging options to suit your needs, whether you’re after compostable bagasse trays from our exclusive brand Sustain or 100 per cent rPET containers from our supplier Klöckner Pentaplast. For more information on our range of food packaging products contact Bunzl Catering Supplies today.