March 16, 2021
By Elaine O’Doherty
Demand for organic ingredients continues to thrive
Organic ingredients are having a moment. In fact, according to the Canada Organic Trade Association, Canadians are buying more organic products year over year, despite being in a pandemic. Why?
There are myriad of complex factors that are playing into this – we’re in the middle of a health crisis; organic is perceived as a shortcut to cleaner label and minimally processed food; consumers are looking for a sense of control when it comes to health; and they are thinking more critically about what they put in their bodies – from ingredients to sourcing.
Owning Your Health
We’re living in a world that is dynamic and changing every day. It’s easy to feel like we’ve lost control and it’s natural for humans to look for ways to gain that back. One way consumers are doing this is through food and owning their health. Here, organic plays an interesting role since consumers consider organic a healthier option, a shortcut to clean label and as a path to help boost immunity. According to Ardent Mills’ insights team, in 2020 many consumers actively sought out foods they thought would be good for their health – organic included.
Additionally, those that choose organic products do so out of lifestyle and belief standards rather than palette. In fact, 78 per cent of Canadians cited health benefits as the main reason why they choose organic food items, according to a poll done by StatsCan.
A few ways to support this trend in your business is with organic desserts, artisanal breads and products for on-trend lifestyle diets, such as gluten free and keto. This can be as simple as having an organic artisanal bread for your sandwich offerings or incorporating organic flour into desserts for a healthy halo effect. To take this a step further, try incorporating organic ancient grains like spelt and quinoa in your bakery applications to hit on the organic demand, while also bolstering the perceived health-forward trend by adding options for higher protein and fibre.
Another outcome of the pandemic is that consumers are thinking more about the details of their food inside and outside the package. Where does it come from? Who is growing it? Is it sustainable? As consumers are looking for this transparency, organic can be a great win for bakers.
In 2016, Ardent Mills launched our Organic Initiative aimed at helping farmers transition their wheat crops to organic. Since the launch of our Organic Initiative, Ardent Mills has expanded our organic footprint in terms of storing and processing organic flour and grains, and we continue to add to our organic portfolio.
Ardent Mills also partners with family farms in our local communities in Western Canada. These close relationships provide a strong connection between our famers, our customers and their finished product. One organic farm partner, Grace Hill Farms, is situated in the wheat belt region of Mankota, Saskatchewan and supplies our Saskatoon mill with high quality, high performing wheat. Grace Hill Farms has a passion for organic farming rooted in their personal philosophy, which is to farm in a sustainable, synergistic fashion that benefits the land, wheat, their family and community. We’re beyond excited to work with a family whose values align directly with ours.
All in all, organic is a trend that’s here to stay. Its versatility extends beyond ingredient diversity and food applications to storytelling — sustainability, transparency, healthy halo effect, and more. Because it transcends multiple trends and consumer demands, organic will remain an important category to keep an eye on. / BJ
Elaine O’Doherty is the Marketing Manager at Ardent Mills Canada.
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