In the span of one decade, organic food sales have grown from about $1 billion to nearly $8 billion.
Since 1990, demand for organic products has grown about 20% per year. According to industry estimates, U.S. organic retail sales in 2000 were expected to reach $7.76 billion. Organic produce is the original leader in market sales. However, as consumers spend less time in the kitchen, they rely more on processed organic foods, snacks and beverages.

Eatem Foods, Vineland, N.J., recently introduced organic flavor bases, which are certified by the USDA in accordance with the new National Organic Program. "We noticed an increase in the frequency of requests for an organic base from our best customers," observes Lori Miller, RD, LD, director of market development for Eatem. "Our team, led by Frank Gervato, president and chief technical officer, knew immediately that an Eatem Organic Base could make a big diffe rence to manufacturers by reducing production time, ingredient inventory and offering cost advantages at the same time."

Until now, organic food manufacturers laboriously produced natural organic meat stocks with organic beef, chicken and/or vegetables from assorted organic suppliers.

In creating the organic bases, Eatem eliminates the challenges that companies face when making their own stocks: time-consuming sourcing of organic ingredients, declaring strict ingredient specifications (and time spent enforcing those specs by constant testing) and lastly, creative development time needed to get maximum flavor results. "These certified organic flavor bases will provide consistency in flavor, a real benefit to the food technologist who must deal with the seasonal flavor variation of ingredients common in the organic foods industry," adds Gervato.

Flavors include beef, chicken and vegetable. Rob Buono, Eatem's technical chef, found that when tested in various uses, the organic bases readily replace scratch-made organic stock, with the Eatem organic stock being more flavor-consistent. The certified organic bases make a broth with a full-bodied, yet clean "first-ingredient" flavor. Formulators can use the bases, with or without added spices, to replace an entire flavor system or they can use the bases at lower levels (0.5%) as a foundation enhancement.

Applications include organic products such as frozen entrees, sides, vegetables, pot pies, rice, pasta, soups, sauces and salads. The bases and flavor profiles are stable in all applications--frozen, chilled and retorted products.

Eatem Certified Organic Bases are free of genetically modified organisms and are certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI), a prominent qualifying agency for organic products. Meat, poultry or vegetables, which are the first and primary ingredient, are not treated with antibiotics, hormones, growth stimulants, irradiation or synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

In addition, as with many of the clean-label Eatem Bases, these products do not include artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, sulfites, monosodium glutamate or hydrolyzed vegetable protein.