As the Green movement expands from a trend to a way of life, organic foods have become increasingly popular. This has led to the rise of the organic restaurant. Although prices may be higher than those establishments who serve traditionally grown food, there are social, cultural, and political benefits to this form of restaurant. A rise in consumers who wish to know where their food comes from and exactly what is in it produces the ideal customer for this type of restaurant. Organic restaurants also have positive impacts on the economy through job production and the use of local farms and businesses. Opening an organic restaurant sends the message that healthy choices of food are available and convenient. It also shows that the restaurateur cares for the health of the community.
The Green movement is a growing trend of the 21st century. In the food industry, this trend has led to the production and consumption of organic foods. Many restaurateurs have begun to consider establishments with organic concepts. Although these restaurants would need to charge more for their fare, there are many benefits to opening an establishment that serves organic food.
Organic restaurants are a benefit to society as a whole. These businesses, although for-profit, have a positive influence the marketplace. Not only do they offer organic food substitutes, these restaurants also attempt to influence society to lead a healthier lifestyle. This can help to lower obesity in the country which many believe is a result of lifestyle choices, the need for convenient sources of food, and an increase in the use of additives and preservatives in the food production industry. (Brush, 2013.).
The use of organic food products helps to protect the environment allowing society to benefit. Organics must be grown in soil that is healthy and do not use potentially toxic synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Not only is the environment protected from how organics are grown, consumers’ also have limited exposure to chemicals and other substances that are known to be harmful to humans. (US EPA, 2012.).
In America, there is a culture that tends to drive the rate of obesity in the country. The availability of organic food is helping to change that culture. The popularity of organically produced food has begun to grow and spread throughout the U.S. Years ago the term “organic” was considered a novelty. It is now a more conventional term as customers become more and more aware of organic foods. According to a consumer survey, 41% of parents are now purchasing more organic foods than they were the year before. Another survey found that more than half of the adults polled would choose organic foods over traditionally grown foods. As business increases for organic producers, organic restaurants also gain customers as those who convert to purchasing organic products rarely revert back to those that are traditionally grown according to yet another survey. This shows that what began as merely a trend is here to stay. Even when they have less money to spend, these individuals still purchase organic foods over their conventional counterparts. (Chait, n.d.).
Organic restaurants can receive help from the USDA in finding certified producers of organic food products. Government loans may also be available for businesses who exclusively deal in organic food products. Certification as an official organic food handler is also available to allow consumers to verify that what they are eating truly organic foods. (USDA, 2012.).
Organic restaurants are able to attract a loyal customer base (Brush, 2013.). These customers consist of Americans who have lost confidence in the integrity of the conventional food system. In a recent poll, over 90% of consumers want their food labels to contain every ingredient that exists I the product including any that are genetically modified. Almost 75% of American consumers prefer foods grown locally on small farms from people they know and trust. Corporations are no longer trusted to produce healthy and safe food for the masses. More and more Americans want to know where there food comes from and exactly what is in it. These consumers are increasingly switching to organic food products as a means of consuming food they can trust and are the ideal customers for an organic restaurant. (Ikerd, n.d.).
The opening of any business helps the economy to thrive by increasing the workforce. This not only introduces additional dollars into the economy by providing jobs, it also helps programs such as social security with the influx of tax dollars. Another boon to the economy is produced when organic restaurants purchase produce from the industry’s limited amount of producers. These producers tend to be small farms and companies. The creation of organic restaurants and other businesses helps organic producers become sustainable economically allowing them to thrive. This provides economic benefits for the rural communities that organic producers are a part of. (Beyond Organic, n.d.).
Opening an organic restaurant sends the message that healthy and eco-friendly food is available and just as convenient as their local fast food restaurant. An organic restaurant grants consumers an alternative to the usually unhealthy restaurant choices where there was none before. The message is clear that not only does the restaurateur plan to take care of his family through the establishment’s profits, he also cares about the families of his consumers by offering healthy food options for the community.
Beyond Organic. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2014, from http://www.cias.wisc.edu/curriculum/modV/sece/sec_E_modV.htm
Brush, C. (2013, July 30). Against All Odds — Launching A Retail Organic Foods
Business. Forbes.com. Retrieved August 31, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/babson/2013/07/30/against-all-odds-launching-a-retail-organic-foods-business/
Chait, J. (n.d.). 10 Reasons for Restaurants to Go Organic. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from http://organic.about.com/od/organicrestaurantsfoods/tp/Ten-Reasons-For-Restaurants-To-Go-Organic.htm
Ikerd, J. (n.d.). Eating Local: A Matter of Integrity. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from http://web.missouri.edu/ikerdj/papers/Alabama-Eat%20Local.htm
USDA. (2012, August). USDA Organic 101. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from http://apps.ams.usda.gov/organic/101/Organic101-Aug2012.pdf
US EPA. (2012, May 9). What “Organically Grown” Means. EPA.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/Organics.htm