Over the past ten years, organic food has gone from somewhat of a luxury to a necessity in any kitchen. Since opening in 1994, Ace Natural has helped lead this change. The NYC-based natural and organic food distributor has a passion of improving the lifestyles of New Yorkers and the restaurants that serve them.
Total Food Service sat down with Ace Natural about the start of natural and organic food, and where the market is headed to next.
What led to the creation of organic food?
It came from the need of truly more natural food that companies could not call “natural” when selling unnatural.
What is the proper definition of organic?
Food that is free of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and GMO’s.
We hear a lot about GMO’s… what does that have to do with organic?
GMO’s are genetically modified organisms. By definition, organics do not contain GMO’s.
Are there organic products available in all categories?
Yes, for the most part. But you can always ask us about something specific.
Should you expect to pay a premium for organic products?
Organic food is produce respecting the natural cycle of crops and without using chemical enhancers, fertilizers, pesticides (natural pesticides are allowed though) therefore it costs more money to produce organic. Organics are like anything else; you get what you pay for.
Is it possible if local and/or farm-to-table are a priority that organic items are available to accomplish that agenda?
The combination of both organic and local is becoming more and more available, even in the East Coast during the colder seasons. In my opinion, it’s the ideal combo when I shop for my family.
What are some of the products that would surprise restaurateurs to know are available as organic selections?
These days, we have almost everything that a chef can dream of.
How has organic food changed and evolved in terms of preparation?
One of the big advantages of organic food is that for the most part, it can be treated as conventional food in terms of preparation.
Can’t an operator just ask their broadliner (like Sysco-US Foods) for organic products?
Yes, they can, but most of the national broadliners do not offer a big variety of organic products. Also, since what they do is mostly conventional, it is very hard for them to shift focus away from the conventional sector that accounts for more than 95% of our food products.
What are the advantages to working with a specialty organic distributor like Ace Natural?
We have a great variety of organic and clean natural bulk ingredients, ideal for commercial kitchens. We provide a great service in Metro New York and our customer service representatives and salespeople are very knowledgeable about organic bulk ingredients. This is all we have been doing for more than 20 years. It is our specialty.
To learn more about Ace Natural and the organic products they carry, visit their website.