Growing preference for organic food
The heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides over decades has considerably deprived farm grown vegetables of its nutrients which has led to people demanding organically grown food.
Food is something that appeals to all our senses and sections of society, but how nutritious is your food? This question alone can raise a thousand other worrisome queries in your head.
The heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides over the decades has considerably deprived farm grown vegetables of its nutrients. And this is where the rising popularity of organic food steps in. It all started with vegetables and fruits and has now moved on to grains, pulses, spices, oil-seeds and even tea. As per news reports, the organic food market in India has experienced a 20-22% annual growth.
Organic farming not only helps small farmers to get a fair price for their produce but it also benefits the environment by encouraging the growth of a number of natural varieties of food.
"Organic food contains no chemical pesticides and fertilizers and are grown naturally with the help of manure or compost. Organic food does not contain growth hormones or antibiotic residues, which therefore do not threaten a child's future. Various farms give growth hormones and antibiotics to the animal and poultry, and on consumption of those, the hormonal effects are directly passed onto the consumers of dairy, meat and poultry. Organic farming does not practice this method and believes in feeding the cattle and birds outside in the natural surroundings. Antibiotic-containing foods consumed frequently makes these antibiotics ineffective in humans," informs Dr Saurabh Arora.
"Any food offered for sale as "organic food" in India, needs to comply with the provisions laid down under either the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) administered by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare," says Dr Arora. Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) advice that foods that are labelled organic but are not certified cannot be considered safe.
Food Safety Standards and Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017 along with the unified logo for organic food products, supported with the tagline 'Jaivik Bharat'.
Observing patterns in guest preferences and requests, getting wind of new ingredients from farmers and suppliers, and staying attuned to the innovations emerging across the international scene, Chef Prem Pogakula – Executive Chef at The Imperial, has predicted some food trends that might take over Indian restaurants in 2018.
"Now more than ever we're becoming more globally conscious of what's going on with our food, where it's coming from, and how it was grown. Everyone loves farm-to-table and supporting local, organic farmers, but with such great products, we need to respect every part of the ingredient. I believe diners will respect the idea of less waste," expressed the Chef.
Chef Prem also suggests the appropriate utilisation of ingredients with minimum waste. When we prefer to choose organic produce, it must also be kept in mind that minimal amount of food wastage will maintain balance in the environment. "A chef's job is to create something amazing using a less favorable cut of meat or an overlooked vegetable. One should think of how one can blow someone away with something as simple as a carrot."
"With chefs connecting more with diners on a personal level, I think diners will continue to gain an understanding of the food they're enjoying and become aware that 'what they put in their bodies makes a difference to their lives.' More and more organic, non-GMO, vegetarian, and vegan restaurants would come up in the future," opines the chef.
The chef predicts the comeback of local flavours from villages across the country. With people's concern for health, small bite-sized desserts are becoming more popular with the rise of Asian flavours in general. For most of us, the healthy concept of eating gluten-free, organic food rests only on social media channels and on New Year resolution notes, but a strong commitment to a healthy lifestyle with these alternate ingredients is the biggest challenge to aim for in the coming years.