Today’s consumers come from an information-seeking culture — and their curiosity extends to the food they’re eating. Your foodservice customers expect more than a delicious meal made from high-quality ingredients; they want to participate in the story of your operation and your food. Draw them in — and keep them coming back — with strong menu storytelling anchored by the two high-impact food quality cues: provenance and “purity”.
Strategically sharing the story behind your food and including details about where it was grown and the makers behind the ingredients helps customers connect to your menu and feel assured of its quality.
No ingredient-sourcing story is too small. Even everyday staples like salt, honey, flour or ancient grains like quinoa can convey high quality, crafted ingredients when enhanced with the right information. Consider sharing sourcing details about local ingredients or adding branded ingredient names to the menu. For example, Ardent Mills sources a wide array of grains from family farms across Canada and the United States; those family farm stories lend context to our product, making them tangible for the end consumer.
Another option is to use descriptive terms like “hand-crafted” or “house-made” when appropriate; words that speak to your operation’s back-of-house handiwork adds artisan appeal.
- Menu inspiration: Multigrain bowl with brown rice, barley and Saskatoon-grownquinoa topped with roasted eggplant, slow-cooked in curry sauce with chickpeas, farmer’s market potatoes and local greens
A Mark of Purity
According to the Canada Organic Trade Association (OTA), the current organic market is estimated at $5.4 billion, up $1.9 billion from 2012. The Canada OTA reports 66 per cent of grocery shoppers are now purchasing organic items weekly — and 83 per cent of those weekly organic shoppers are millennials, a large and influential purchasing demographic.
It’s important to remember that most consumers are looking for organic options — not necessarily a full organic menu. If pursuing a 100 per cent certified organic certification does not make sense for your operation and business needs, you can still tap into these powerful consumer demands without expending a lot of resources.
To entice clean-label and health-conscious consumers, consider where you can add organic ingredients to make the biggest impact on your menu. For example, using organic flour allows you to offer popular items like bread and desserts and make a “made with organic flour” claim without doing a total menu overhaul. All Ardent Mills premium organic flours are grown and milled in accordance with Canadian Organic and Oregon Tilth standards, and our organic offerings go beyond flour. Our convenient Simply Milled by Ardent Mills™ Organic Bakery Mixes are versatile and easy-to-use, so back-of-house operations can quickly make fan-favorite foods like pizzas and biscuits.
- Menu inspiration: Orange Blossom “Honey Help the Bees” Pan Bread made with certified Organic Whole Wheat Flour served with (pesticide-free) Honey Herb Butter Spread
 The Annex by Ardent Mills – Innovation Drivers & Trend Landscape Report, 2018
 The Canadian Organic Market: Trends and Opportunities 2017