Did you know that over 82% of the country’s 117 million households contain organic foods?1 Organic food sales in the United States increased by 8.4% in 2016 to reach $43 billion, making it the first time sales surpassed $40 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association’s industry survey.2 And sales show no signs of slowing.
With more than 70% of consumers interested in organic items on restaurant menus, operators have the opportunity to attract health-conscious consumers and tap into the profit potential of organic menu claims.3
Here are three ways to benefit from menuing organic:
1. Added Profits
Adding organic to your menu can help add profits to your bottom line.4 When dining away from home, 90% of consumers believe that restaurants should offer guests the option to choose organic.4 This is especially true when it comes to chicken; since nearly 88% of consumers prefer the chicken they eat at restaurants to be organic chicken.4 Not only is there strong demand for organic chicken, but consumers are also willing to pay more for it.4 In fact, 80% of consumers would pay more for chicken certified USDA Organic.4
While purchasing organic food may cost you more than conventional food, most consumers are willing to pay more at restaurants that serve organic and locally grown food.5 Consumers understand the importance of organic on their health and the environment, and therefore are willing to cut costs in other areas of their life in order to afford organic food.5 This can mean big profit potential if you start menuing organic meat and poultry. Seek out suppliers who are leading the industry with organic standards and animal welfare commitments. Don’t feel you need to come up with a completely new menu or transition all of your products to organic. Adding a special menu or offering an LTO that highlights organic ingredients is a way to meet your customers demand and charge more per plate.
2. Makes Marketing Easier
Believe it or not, serving organic food can actually make it easier to market your menu, especially as consumers proactively seek out health-conscious restaurants.5 More than 70% of operators say that featuring organic chicken on their menu improves the perception of their restaurant.4 This is supported by research claiming that 86% of consumers would return to a restaurant they previously avoided if they switched to serving organic chicken.4
It’s time to demonstrate your commitment to quality by clearly showcasing your menu’s high value claims, particularly when it comes to animal proteins. More and more folks want to know they’re eating responsibly sourced meat and poultry6 and often look to the menu as a guide.
In the last three years, descriptors such as “organic,” “no steroids,” “humanely raised,” “GMO-free” and “cage-free” were among the top clean menu claims related to animal proteins.6 If you’re sourcing premium proteins like organic chicken and antibiotic-free turkey, make sure to highlight their attributes on the menu, as well as your other marketing channels like your website and social media platforms.
3. Can Foster a Happier Work Place
It might sound crazy but transitioning to organic foods can actually elevate employee morale.5 While you may have just been thinking about consumer demand when transitioning to organic, you may be pleasantly surprised to see the positive impact it has on your staff. These days, sustainability and environmental issues are important factors for employees.7 People want an employer whose values align with their own.7 This is especially true among millennials, who care about green initiatives like organic food sourcing.5
As millennials make up a large percentage of restaurant staff, it would benefit you to know that three- quarters of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.8 On top of that, 83% report being more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues, and 88% feel their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on these issues.8
The organic food industry is here to stay and will continue to grow as consumers seek out restaurants committed to sourcing organic ingredients, especially meat and poultry. As nearly half of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant with organic offerings,9 operators have the opportunity to drive sales with every organic item menued. Start leveraging the profit potential of organic today!
1 Food Dive, “Hunger for Organic Food Continues to Grow,” 8/1/17, https://www.fooddive.com/news/hunger-for-organic-food-continues-to-grow/448170/
2 Food Business News, “US Organic Food Sales Jump More than 8%,” 1/26/17, https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/9394-u-s-organic-food-sales-jump-more-than-8
3 Mintel: Healthy Dining Trends US - March 2016
4 Perdue Proprietary Internal Consumer Study – June 2017
5 The Balance, “Reasons For Restaurants to Go Organic,” 1/27/17, https://www.thebalance.com/restaurants-go-organic-2538365
6 Global Food Forums, “Consumer Restaurant & Menu Trends: The Clean Label Influence,” 1/25/18, https://www.globalfoodforums.com/consumer-restaurant-menu-trends-the-clean-label-influence/
7 Network for Business Sustainability, “Three Reasons Job Seekers Prefer Sustainable Companies,” 9/15/17, https://nbs.net/p/three-reasons-job-seekers-prefer-sustainable-companies-6f1780d2-0b1d-4778-aef9-20527ab78895
8 Sustainable Brands, “¾ of Millennials Would Take a Pay Cut to Work for a Socially Responsible Company,” 11/2/16, http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/organizational_change/sustainable_brands/34_millennials_would_take_pay_cut_work_socia
9 Datassential, Menu Trends, 2017