What other consumer countries have already embraced a while ago, now is local to Belgium: eat organic , food boxes delivered to your door, and meet your favorite food-truck in town. Let me break down each trend for you.
|Sebastien in Antwerp|
Many a place in the countryside already invite you to pop in and buy potatoes or strawberries fresh from the field. Today a near 100% organic shop or eatery in town is a booming trend.
You cannot hide from organic anymore; every magazine or food show reminds us to eat local, seasonal and organic. And if you missed it, they launched a national challenge to reduce the consumption of meat and fish from 18 February for 40 days. About 43.000 people signed up and committed this way to reduce their ecological footprint, waste of water and greenhouse gas emissions. It takes for 1kg of beef about 9kg of grain or soya, i.e. plenty of land, energy and water.
The stores: You can find plenty of gluten free options, but also a wide variety of fairtrade products. To me this is like a foodie Ali Baba’s cave: full of treasures to discover and experiment with. I like taking my time to walk the isles and read packaging and imagine what I can do with it. They also have fresh fruit and veg but those compare to produce found at the many markets in town.
Supermarkets are picking up the trend as well. Such as Delhaize, they promote “Respecting our Planet” where they promote selling local, seasonal produce and fairtrade but also focus on saving energy and reduce or recycle waste. A clear message of provenance and sustainability is also being promoted by Carrefour.
|Robuust in Antwerp|
The Belgian eateries: “Don’t’ panic, It’s Organic” is the slogan of Le Pain Quotidien who reinvented themselves to be 100 % organic and it works. “Exki” has been promoting quality fast-food with perfect insight into the ingredients, the composition and the nutritional value of the products since 1999. They donate a cup of coffee to the homeless with each purchase, already serving over 67 000 cups.
The Foodmaker is proud of their biodegradable packaging and donates leftover food to homeless organisations.
Café de la Presse and du Sablon, offer a large variety of fairtrade coffees and promote the provenance of their products on their FB page reporting from their trips to Panama and El Salvador, picking out the coffee beans themselves. They do seem to share that contemporary country look of untreated oak and black metal also like a little gem i found in Antwerp called Sebastien.
How I like my organic? I definitely seek out to eat as much as possible produce in season and like to cut out wheat when possible. I love the many spelt pastas and breads you now can find everywhere now. Some gluten free crackers, cookies and chips also end up in my shopping basket. Currently I am making my way through testing several organic lemonades and sodas as I hope to find a calorie-less alternative for my afternoon Coke. I love Elderflower cordial and ginger beer, how British! but not readily available in Brussels. I don’t mind paying a bit extra for the quality you get in return but I don’t solely live organic and cutting out meat is hard but I do have at minimum 1 fruit and veggie only day per week. Does it matter to me I know where my food is coming from and how much energy it took, to be honest it’s a fun fact to know but I don’t actively search out those answers. To me those new stores feel like they are replacing the neighborhood shops this does not mean they automatically equal quality, one still needs to evaluate, compare and taste.
Wasting less energy or generating less waste are becoming part of the next generation and so it should be if we wish to help our planet little bit longer.