Organic kitchen duty
Norwegian authorities aim to increase the sale of organic goods to 15 % by 2015. In order to achieve this ambitious aim, they need help! Public and private mass caterers who wish to offer organic food are now offered aid to initiate such services.
A total of 52 municipalities are taking part in a project aiming to increase the use of organic food. These municipalities, as well as other interested parties, are now receiving help through the Organic Kitchen (KjøkkenØkologi) project. Many of the municipalities taking part are focusing in particular on schools and daycare facilities.
The aid provided through the Organic Kitchen project consists of guiding and assisting mass caterers in using organic food. Important issues include the purchase of organic goods, cooperation with local businesses, certification and the development of organic menus. The project is a cooperation between Ullandhaug farm, Bioforsk and Nofima Mat, who service a third of the municipalities each. Ullandhaug farm is the project manager.
In May we gathered employees from schools and day care services in five municipalities in the counties of Østfold and Akershus for an inspirational course at the Culinary Academy of Norway in Oslo, where they took part in developing simple and healthy menus.
"It’s important to adapt ambitions to real life in a daycare facility. The participants received many good tips on how to simplify their working day and still offer the kids the best. Take bread-baking as an example. If the staff is to bake their own organic bread, this takes time and is more costly than picking up a loaf at the low-cost grocery store on the corner. Many daycare facilities and schools end up buying the cheap loaf of bread in the store. Our tips on baking with cold water and leaving the dough to rise longer as well as freezing dough, inspired many of the participants," says Sveinung Grimsby, Nofima Mat’s representative in this project.
Teaming up with the purchasing team
Setting realistic aims, calculating costs, entering into contracts and certification are areas where this project can help mass caterers. It’s important to have realistic ideas of what type of goods the municipalities should start with. They need to identify what they have access to, what kind of deliveries they can enter into contracts about, what kind of storage facilities they have etc.
"An important issue is to introduce organic ideas into the municipalities’ tender announcements. If the person responsible for purchases to the municipality is not a team player, enthusiastic project managers in daycare facilities will get nowhere. Several persons in the municipality need to get involved in order for the municipalities’ efforts to succeed," says Grimsby.
Far from the goal
Today only 1 % of the food sold in Norway is organic, corresponding to a turnover of NOK 1 billion. In comparison, organic food for 6 billion is sold in Denmark and for 3 billion in Sweden. "Obviously, additional resources are needed in order to reach the aim of 15 % within six years," says Sveinung Grimsby. In Norway, the categories that are selling the most organic produce are dairy products, cereal products and vegetables. The project is financed by the Norwegian Agricultural Authority, and will last until the end of 2011.