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A growing appetite for organic

A growing appetite for organic

by Great British Chefs 25 June 2015

Sales of organic food are stronger than ever with top restaurants, major supermarkets and consumers leading the charge for increased sustainability and accountability in the food chain.

Chefs and foodies alike are big fans of organic produce – the unrivalled quality and sustainability goes hand-in-hand with many chefs’ focus on quality and flavour. Combined with unparalleled welfare standards (organic food label the Soil Association is recommended by Compassion in World Farming for its high welfare assurances), organic is a natural choice for those who care about the environment and sustainable farming.

The health benefits of organic produce are also well-known. Organic milk is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids (an average of 68% more than non-organic dairy cows, as found in studies by Glasgow and Liverpool Universities). Crops grown on organic farms are also found to be of higher nutritional value – a study published by the Soil Association found that organic crops contain 60% higher levels of antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts, as well as containing less heavy-metals such as cadmium.

According to the UK Soil Association, sales of organic produce grew by 4% in 2015 to a total of almost £2billion, despite an overall decline in consumer spending and food prices. The organic industry was knocked off its stride during the recession, but a resurgence is clearly underway. Thanks to a growing awareness of traceability, environmental impact and animal welfare issues – along with a heightened interest in cooking and eating out – we are increasingly looking for higher-quality ingredients and have a growing curiosity about where our food comes from.

The Organic Trade Board (OTB) has recently published a report titled ‘A Fresh Look at the Organic Consumer’ which is the first ever UK Organic Food and Drink Attitude and Usage survey. Their research is the most comprehensive analysis of the UK organic consumer to date and provides evidence of the organic market’s growing momentum. For example, 33% of regular organic consumers entered the market within the last two years and 45% claim they will buy more organic products in the future, showing increasing demand from a fresh audience.

Price has previously been seen as a barrier to buying organic, but the OTB are working hard to challenge this view by launching their #ThriftyOrganic challenge, encouraging the public to swap their regular weekly shop for an organic one.

In support of the best organic produce, we at Great British Chefs have teamed up with the OTB to provide you with fantastic, seasonal recipes that fully show off the superior flavour of organic produce, provided by some of the country’s finest chefs.

One such chef is Emily Watkins, who has become a familiar face on our TV screens since appearing on Great British Menu, winning a course at the final banquet in 2014. Her recipes represent the very best of spring – Barley, pea and mint salad with fresh goat's cheese and Asparagus and hollandaise tart – and reflect her dedication to seasonal, local produce. This is also evident in her pub restaurant, The Kingham Plough in Oxfordshire, where menus change regularly to get the best out of local produce.

For the summer months, we will be teaming up with the inimitable Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen from Lancashire’s Northcote Manor, where the Michelin-starred team produce refined dishes based on ‘the great larder of Lancashire’, so watch this space. In the meantime, be sure to seek out organic produce on offer when you’re out shopping, or check out the plethora of organic veg boxes available online. Whether you’re choosing organic for the flavour or the health benefits, you’ll be pleased to see there is plenty to choose from.

For more information on the Organic Trade Board visit their website.

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A growing appetite for organic


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