"In the salad bar, there will be at least one organic vegetable every day and we will be able to offer organic hot dishes. We will be having organic cheese and installing new drinks dispensers to widen the selection of drinks to include low fat organic milk and organic apple juice. We will also be making organic waffles and baking organic pretzels," says canteen manager Kine Syversen.
The biggest challenge involved in offering organic products is actually getting hold of them. The selection is quite limited - as a basis for hot dishes for example, it is minced beef and chicken that are most easily available. Organic vegetables, in particular, often have a shorter shelf life, which can be a challenge when you need to buy in a large quantity.
There are also requirements for extensive documentation and internal control.
"In this area we have collaborated with quality coordinator Heidi Asplin. She knows a great deal about it and I am convinced that without her help the whole thing would have taken much longer," says Kine Syversen.
Offering organic alternatives takes time
There is no doubt that offering organic food is much more time consuming. Both buying them and preparing them takes more time. "It takes longer to find good, reliable suppliers of organic food and all organic meals have to be made by us from scratch. But solving the problems is both enjoyable and educational, and it is stimulating to know that we are a little bit ahead of many other staff canteens in Norway in this respect," says Kine Syversen.
Working towards Government targets
"What we are doing in Nofima Mat's canteen demonstrates that we too are making the effort to give our users organic alternatives. We want to show that we are doing our bit towards achieving the targets that the Government has set.
Our experience with our own canteen will provide us with valuable knowledge that we can pass on to others who wish to give their users an organic alternative," says senior project manager Åshild Longva.