Organic Food in German Michelin Star Restaurants

Bachelorarbeit, 2010

81 Seiten, Note: 65%



List of Figures

List of Appendices

1. Introduction
Background to the study
Aim and objectives

2. Literature Review
2.1. Michelin Star restaurants
The Guide Michelin
Rating of Michelin Stars
Growth and development of the German Michelin Star restaurant market
Demand and demographic structures
2.2. Organic Food
Definition of organic food
Organic food in Germany and its growth and development
Certification process and local food
Consumer behaviour and organic food
Mainly used organic products in German hospitality

3. Methodology
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Research Process
3.3. Secondary Research
Secondary Research Limitations
3.4. Research Ethics
3.5. Primary Research
Data collection
Interpreting and Analysing the Data
Primary Research Limitations

4. Results

5. Discussion
Is organic certification important?
How important is it for restaurants to use organic products?
Is quality defined differently?
How much do the customer and the culture in Germany influence the offer of Michelin Star restaurants?

6. Conclusion

7. Recommendations
Recommendations for further studies
Recommendations for the industry

8. References and Bibliography

List of Figures

Figure 3.1 Research Process Steps

Figure 3.2 Types of secondary research

Figure 4.1 Location of restaurants

Figure 4.2 Propotions of organic food products

Figure 4.3 Main reasons for organic food products

Figure 4.4 Organic food ingredients

Figure 4.5 Proportions of different organic food

Figure 4.6 Quality of organic food ingredients

Figure 4.7 Position in organisation

List of Appendices

Appendix A Blank Questionnaire

Appendix B Results Questionnaire

Appendix C German Michelin Star restaurants

Appendix D Ethic Form

Appendix E Dissertation Proposal

1. Introduction

This research study aims to investigate why German Michelin Star restaurants offer organic food. With the author being the first one who links organic food together with the use in German Michelin Star restaurants, this study is not only aiming to contribute to research in this area, but its main purpose is to examine specifically the motivation and reasons of German Michelin Star restaurants for offering organic food to their customers.

In order to investigate why German Michelin Star restaurants offer organic food, this work consists of primary and secondary research methods and is divided into five main parts, namely literature review, methodology, results, discussion and conclusion.

Firstly, the literature review aims to provide the background for investigating German Michelin Star restaurants, organic food and its definition and the growth and development of organic food in Germany.

For achieving the investigation of German Michelin Star restaurants, an introduction to the Guide Michelin, which is a well known ranking system focusing on quality gastronomy, will be given. By further considering the rating of Michelin Star restaurants with the different Star categories, it becomes clear that the main purpose of Guide Michelin is to work with the industry by having high respect for chefs and industry professionals (Johnson et al., 2005). In addition, the development of the German Michelin Star restaurant market is outlined by considering the amount and proportion of German Michelin Star restaurants, their main location and the importance of gaining, loosing and/or holding the Michelin Stars in terms of attracting their main consumer group.

For investigating and defining organic food and its growth and development in Germany, the literature review further considers a brief history of the development of organic food and shows that Germany is the most important market for organic food products in the world. Besides, the certification process for organic food is described and compared with local food products.

Moreover, significant criteria for consumers demanding organic food, the consumer-focused response from restaurants and the main organic products used by restaurants are considered. This will lead to outline a definition for organic food and its importance in Germany.

Secondly, the methodology outlines the research process taken by analysing and investigating both primary and secondary research methods and their importance for this particular work. Further, the limitations and the ethical reasons for writing this research study are considered.

Thirdly, the main results of the primary research will be presented in form of graphs, figures and short summaries. The main purpose of the conducted questionnaire has been to determine the reasons why German Michelin Star restaurants use and offer organic food and to identify the most frequently used organic food ingredients.

The presentation of the results leads to the fourth main part of this study, the discussion, where the findings from the secondary and primary research are discussed and analysed.

The main discussion points cover the concern of the importance of organic certification for German Michelin Star restaurants and the overall importance of using organic products in their offer to their consumers. It is further discussed how subjective quality of food products can be defined from both the chefs and the consumers and how the consumer behaviour and the culture in Germany influence the food offer of German Michelin Star restaurants.

Lastly, an overall conclusion is drawn for providing suggestions of why German Michelin Star restaurants offer organic food and for giving recommendations for future studies and for the industry.

Background to the study

This study was carried out due to the author’s interest in food and F&B development, and because organic food is an increasing trend.

Most importantly, organic food and the goals of the Slow Food movement hold a great fascination to the author and attract more and more consumers worldwide.

Germany is the author’s homeland in which he worked as a chef in the haute cuisine. Also, the author is fascinated by good food products which are offered especially in Michelin Star restaurants. Further, the German haute cuisine and naturally grown food attract the author’s career goals.

Aim and objectives


- To investigate why German Michelin Star restaurants offer organic food.
To firstly carry out secondary research:
to investigate German Michelin Star restaurants
- to investigate organic food and to define organic food
- to investigate the growth and development of organic food in Germany
To secondly carry out primary research by conducting a questionnaire:
- to determine the reasons why restaurants offer organic food
- to identify what are the most frequently used food ingredients
- to identify the reasons why restaurants use and offer organic food

2. Literature Review

2.1. Michelin Star restaurants

The aim of this section is twofold: firstly, a general introduction about haute cuisine restaurants and the Michelin Star rating system. Secondly, the work profiles, the development and the demand of German Michelin Star restaurants.

The Guide Michelin

It has been stated that “the Michelin Star system in Europe is the best-known and most respected ranking system for high-quality or haute cuisine restaurants” (Johnson et al., 2005 p. 2). In other words, quality gastronomy in Europe is synonymous with the Michelin Guide. Johnson et al. (2005) cited in Ottenbacher and Harrington (2007) point out that the Michelin Guide or also called Guide rouge are “respected institutions for fine gastronomy and cuisine” (p. 4). Further, the guide is important for chefs, restaurateurs, culinary experts and the followers of haute cuisine. Therefore, a chef describes the haute cuisine as: „best products, best preparation, best logistics and consistency. Consistency means training your employees so that the operational procedures are consistent and that if they cook a dish a 100 times – it always tastes the same.” (Ottenbacher and Harrington, 2007, p. 454) This quote states another claim which the haute cuisine has to achieve: best products, best preparation and above all consistency in the performance.

The Guide was introduced in 1900 in France by the Michelin Tyre Company. It began as a map for people to travel, which included helpful instructions about petrol stations, garages and telegraph facilities. After the Second World War the guide had developed into a tourist guide and in the 1950s it had transformed into a gastronomy guide. The guide is based on anonymous inspections and independence with providing a selection of the best hotels and restaurants in all comfort and price categories. Further, who gets in is checked by a “selected, independent and trained team of inspectors who frequent the restaurants regularly” (Ottenbacher and Harrington, 2007, p. 446). Against some competitor guides like Gault Milliau all consumed meals and accommodations are fully paid by Guide Michelin.

Rating of Michelin Stars

The Michelin Guide introduced a system of symbols with the aim to identify consistently high-quality hotels and restaurants across a range of styles and cuisines. The main criteria for awarding a Michelin Star “are assessed in five categories:

- The quality of the products
- The mastery of flavour and cooking
- The “personality of the cuisine”
- The value for the money
- The consistency between visits”

(Norton-Smith, 2008; Johnson et al., 2005 and Michelin, 2009a).

Michelins’ purpose is to work with the industry by having high respect for the chefs and industry professionals (Johnson et al., 2005). Therefore, Michelin Stars are given to restaurants which offer high end cuisines regardless of the cuisine style. The Stars represents the taste, and the “picture of the dish” and also the innovation of the chef. Further, a chef describes the haute cuisine as: „best products, best preparation, best logistics and consistency”. Furthermore, they have certain other criteria like the interior design, service quality and table settings (Ottenbacher and Harrington, 2007). These criteria are described within categories of one and three Stars. One Star is considered “a very good restaurant in its category”, two stars reflect “excellent cooking, worth a detour”, the highest category display “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” (Norton-Smith, 2008; Caterer, 2010).

In addition, a fourth category is introduced which is called “Bib Gourmand”. This category is for restaurants which offer good meals at moderate prices. “Bib Gourmand” is named after the Michelin Man whose name is Bibendum (Norton-Smith, 2008).

According to Ottenbacher and Harrington (2007) “the guide has a strong influence on consumers’ choice of haute cuisine restaurants” (p.4). Further, the consequences of gaining or losing stars results in an enormous change in a restaurant’s turnover and profitability (Johnson et al., 2005). In other words, to lose or gain a Star has a huge influence on the restaurants reputation. To give an example, Juan Amador with his avant-garde restaurant in Langen, Germany, increased its occupation by 20% with receiving his third Michelin Star (Dougherty, 2008).

Growth and development of the German Michelin Star restaurant market

According to Datamonitor (2008) approx. 88.000 restaurants exist in Germany. However, only some restaurants are proud holders of the Michelin award. The anniversary edition of the Guide Michelin, first edition published 100 years ago, lists 225 Star restaurants in Germany. Under these are unchanged nine three Star restaurants and 18 two Star restaurants and now 198 establishments with one Star (Michelin Guide, 2009). Germany is with this rating number two in Europe behind France (Gunther, 2009).

Further, Germany gained 179 Stars in the year 2000 with holding 176 Stars in the previous assessment in 1992. Consequently, the number of the Stars increased accordingly by around 20% in the last 16 years (from 1992 – 2008) (Kruse, 2008). The rise on the number of Stars can be declared in the increasing demand on restaurants in the haut cuisine. Another reason is the increasing amount on qualified and ambitious chefs in this category (Ottenbacher and Harrington, 2007). However, it is outstanding that there has been no variation in the percentage amount of awarded two and three Star restaurants in the last 16 years. Hence, the percentage amount varied between 88% and 90% for restaurants awarded with one Star, between 8% and 9% for restaurants awarded with two Stars and 1% to 4% for restaurants awarded with three Stars (Kruse, 2008). In other words, over the last decades there has been less change in the percentage variation of the amount of Stars. However, 15 restaurants lost a Star in the latest Michelin guide. For a better understanding, a list with all German Michelin Star restaurants is attached in Appendix C. The main reason for that can be seen in the economic crunch and not the decline in the art of cookery.

There are some restaurants which hold their Stars over years for example the one Star restaurant “Talmühle” in Sasbachwalden or the three Star restaurant “Dieter Müller” in Bergisch-Gladbach who owns the third Star already since 1997. Another example which is often mentioned in the literature is the “Schwarzwaldstube” in Baiersbronn included in the Hotel Traube Tonbach. Up to date, the “Schwarzwaldstube” has three awarded Stars with their head chef Harald Wohlfahrt who gained his first Michelin Star 1982 as youngest head chef in Germany (Traube Tonbach, 2009). Harald Wohlfahrt is one of the most ambitious chefs in Germany and the leader on the German Star heaven. He also has 19.5 out of 20 Gault Millau points (Restaurant-ranking, 2009).

Furthermore, twelve restaurants lost a Star from 2008 to 2009 because the establishment was closed or the quality was no more corresponding with the Michelin standards (Michelin Stars, 2009). Germany is number two in the European comparison with nine three Stars behind France with 26 three Star establishments. On the third and forth place are Spain and Italy with six and five three Star restaurants (Hickley, 2009). In other words, the two and three Star awarded restaurants occupy only a small part in each European country. Comparing the awarded Stars with England, it is noticeable that the United Kingdom gained now 140 Michelin Stars for 2010 which is the highest number since first being published (caterer, 2010). Compared with Germany, it can be seen that there are quite a few differences.

Therefore, it is noticeable to point out that in Germany in 2008 29 out of 145 restaurants have their establishments located in cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants. The other restaurants are located in small towns and in country sides with a few thousand inhabitants or less. Berlin and Hamburg have with 11 Michelin Star Restaurants each the most stars in one city associated; followed by Munich and Stuttgart with seven, Cologne with six and Dusseldorf and Frankfurt with each five Star restaurants (Michelin Stars, 2009).

Interesting is that Baiersbronn in the Black Forest, a small town of 16.000 inhabitants, has seven Stars in total, which are the restaurants Schwarzwaldstube and Barreiss with three each and Schlossberg with one Star Michelin, which resulted in the federal state Baden-Wurttemberg to be a gourmet region (Michelin Stars, 2009). For instance, “Chef Claus Peter Lumpp at Hotel Bareiss” earned his third Star in 2008 while “Harald Wohlfahrt at the Schwarzwaldstube” has held on to three Stars continuously since 15 years and was listed as one of the “10 Best French Restaurants in the world outside of France in 2009” (dininginfrance, 2009).

Demand and demographic structures

The demands of the Michelin Star are difficult to understand in their entirety. Generally, there is not much written in the literature about the demand of the Star gastronomy. As described earlier there is an increase in the Michelin Star gastronomy. It can be said, the customer expects harmonic, luxuries surroundings with undivided attention and attendance of the head chef and its staff considering the customers expectations at all times in the Michelin Star gastronomy (Johnson et al., 2005).

Aiming to filter out the main customer group visiting Michelin Star restaurants in general, the demographic structures in the gastronomy in Germany can be considered. It is noticeable that 42% of the customers are older than 60 years. Further, 24% are between 40 and 60 years old (Kruse, 2008). This basically means that a major part of the customers visiting a Michelin Star restaurant are elderly people. Further, it can be said that they are a target group for the restaurants who are be able to visit a high price restaurant.

The review of the available literature presented in this section has aimed to provide the basis and understanding to fulfil the first objective of the secondary research of investigating German Michelin Star restaurants.

In order to achieve the second objective of investigating and defining organic food and its growth and development, the next section considers various definitions from the literature and aims to outline the different reasons for its growth and development in Germany and the most frequently used organic food ingredients.

2.2. Organic Food

This section explores the theories that are relevant for this dissertation. Therefore, firstly the literature is considered for examining organic food and defining the term. Secondly, it indicates what the most frequently used organic food ingredients are.

Definition of organic food

As it is important for this dissertation to know what is generally understood by organic food, the following section focuses on outlining a definition for organic food.

Richter (2005) pointed out that organic food products such as meat, vegetables and fruits must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. However, only with an amount of 95% of organic ingredients the foodstuff can be sold as an organic product without any reservations. Further, if the products only contain between 70% to 95% of organic ingredients, they may not be labelled as “Bio” or “Öko”, instead these ingredients are only listed as ingredients from organic agriculture. For some packaged foods, key ingredients, such as spices or enzymes, are not available in organic versions; the foodstuff can only be advertised as an organic product with certain limitations.

According to the European Union Organic Regulation 2004 (Stacey, 2009) there are minimum standards to have organic food certified. To give an example, one criterion is a stricter controlling of organic meat farmers. In addition to these, the various organic control labels like in Germany such as “BIO” or “ÖKO” can have their own stricter requirements. This is comparable to the Soil Association in England. Moreover, members of one of these organisations can advertise their products using the label of their association. Generally speaking, both in Germany and in England, the different organic labels ensure clearness and orientation for consumer, supplier and manufacturer. Moreover, according to Makatouni’s view (2002) organic food is identified as natural grown food produced without the use of growth hormones and chemicals such as fertilisers. Further, organic food is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers (Soil Association, 2009a). Besides, the welfare of animals is more protected than in intensive conventional food producing systems.

Klonsky (2000) states: “The principle guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole” (p.239).

In other words, the guidelines are for protecting the environment and to give the farmers who produce the organic food the regulations how they have to farm. Organic food is not 100% safe because of the organic farmers only being able to ensure that 95% of the organic food products are free of residues and produced with methods to avoid pollution. Therefore, organic farmers aim to improve efficiency and to protect the environment such as humans, plants and animals.

Several authors (Pimentel et al., 2005; Klimeková. and Lehocká, 2007 and Mann, 2003) compared organic and conventional systems of farming. These authors claim as main results that organic farming is better for the environment due to the facts that organic farmers firstly support diverse ecosystems and secondly avoid the use of chemicals. Moreover, the environment is not being polluted and lastly organic farming is producing lower amount of rubbish and less energy for farming is needed.

To sum up, it can be said that it is quite hard to define organic food. However, when talking about organic food it refers to “organic” only ensuring that the food is produced in accordance with certain standards like production and handling. Further, it is important to note that the definition of organic food depends on each country’s regulation and further on the regulations of the certification agencies.

Organic food in Germany and its growth and development

The Gain Report (2003) pointed out that Germany with a population of “82.5 million” is the world’s “4th” major economy following the U.S., Japan and China. Further, Germany is the leader for food and beverages amongst the European countries (p. 2). Moreover, Germany is one of the major producers and one of the most important markets for organic food products in the world.

This is supported by Wier and Calverly (2002), who state that Germany is the largest market in Europe for organic food and the second largest in the world. Moreover, Germany with more than 5.8 billion Euros in sales in 2009 is a leader in the production and consumption of organic food products (just-food, 2010). It is also the country with the longest tradition in organic farming.

Organic farming in Germany began in the 1970’s with small farms and was promoted by young “green people” who founded the first natural food store. These mainly offered organic products; and by doing this they “expressed criticism of industrial society and presented an alternative to conventional grocery trade” (p. 4). In the 1990’s supermarket entered in the organic food market and offered organic products. Therefore, it is noticeable that the first shops which offered organic food were reform shops (FAO, 2001).

Further, Datamonitor (2009) pointed out that the organic food market was worth 4.6 billion Euros in 2008 which represents a growing rate of nearly 20% compared to the previous year. Hence, it is noticeable that “80% of all organic farms in Germany are members of one of the nine German organic producer organizations” (FAO, 2001, p. 3).

Moreover, organic farming increased after 1990 with the reunification of West and East Germany. Before this time, organic farming was not allowed in East Germany, the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The demand on organic products has increased the potential to farm organic food which can be fulfilled by organic farms especially in agricultural regions with poor soil in the GDR (FAO, 2001). Nowadays the highest ration of organic farms is in Eastern Germany.

Generally speaking, it can be said that the high popularity of organic food in Germany is indicated by the use of organic products in Michelin Star restaurants. For instance, Vincent Klinck uses mostly local products which are produced organic in his one Star Michelin Restaurant “Wielandshöhe” in Stuttgart. However, it is often impossible for him to buy organic food in the required quality because some manufacturers are too small to apply for an organic certification because the certification process is too expensive for them (Fromme, 2008).

To conclude, the development and growth of organic food in Germany has only been happening in the last 40 years; however it progressed quite a bit in its development and growth. It is also worth to note at this point that quite a few food scandals have happened recently such as the cow disease or the genetic manipulated produced food (Reynolds and Balinbin, 2003). Therefore, it can also be assumed that the development and growth of organic products nowadays could be seen as a counteractive trend in response to such food scandals in the world and in Germany.

Certification process and local food

There is an increasing number on hotel and restaurants who offer organic food since the last few years. The number of certified restaurants and hotels in Germany increased about 60% in the last two years (Oekolandbau, 2009). Hence, the Soil Association has introduced new criteria and standards for hotels and restaurants to obtain their certification. In order to receive their certification, restaurants and hotels need to apply certain procedures and practical standards typical for their industry. Moreover, the new standards define the criteria for certificated restaurants. The steps of the certification from the Soil Association occur in three parts, namely the application, inspection and certification (Soil Association, 2009b). For instance, a noticeable criterion is the separate store of organic and non organic products (Bozec, 2001). Due to the fact that the organic certification process is expensive, it is noticeable that most of the certificated restaurants are located in the food service industry and not in the haute cuisine (CHD-Expert Group, 2007). Further, Mintel found out in their research that the demand of organic food exceeds the offer of organic food (foodweek, 2008). Hence, quite a few chefs use high quality local produced products which are not organic certificated (Fromme, 2008). That is further a reason why many of these restaurants or chefs are members and supporters of the “Slow Food Movement”. The slow food movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 with the aim to "protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenisation of modern fast food and life" (Kappor, 2009). In other words Slow Food “wants to help to rediscover the joys of eating and understand the importance of caring where their food comes from, who makes it and how it is made” (Slow Food, 2009).

To sum up, the possibility to receive an organic certification does exist for restaurants and hotels. Even though the number of certified restaurants and hotels has increased in the last two years, the certification process is quite expensive. Additionally, the demand of organic food exceeds the offer of organic food, which leads chefs to use local products as well, which are not organic certified.

Consumer behaviour and organic food

As several studies related to consumer behaviour on organic food exist, the following section points out the main important ideas. A few authors (Grunert and Kristensen, 1995; Menghi, 1997; Haest 1990; Wier and Smed, 2000) quoted in Wier and Calverley, (2002) indicate that the people who consume organic food in Europe are educated people under the age of 45.

Nevertheless, a number of authors indentified two different groups who consume organic food on a regular basis: The first group is categorized by mainly young people who consume organic food because of environmental and health reasons, while the second group is subdivided into older people, who mainly consume organic food being health concerned (Wier and Calverly, 2002). It is further noticeable that the degree of knowledge about organic food becomes a major influence on education levels and income.

Aertsens (2009) underpin this as they additionally state that consumers with less disposable income know less about organic food being available and offered, as the perception of the high prices of organic food leaves them uninformed about the advantages of organic products in terms of environmental and health concerns. In contrast, Magnusson et al., (2001) point out that those consumers with a higher level of education and income are prepared to pay more for organic food, as these are also informed about the benefits of organic products.

Gil and Soler (2006) argue further that differences in socioeconomic characteristics, environmental concerns, and health and consumers life styles influence the consumers’ willingness to pay for organic products.


Ende der Leseprobe aus 81 Seiten


Organic Food in German Michelin Star Restaurants
Leeds Metropolitan University
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
2331 KB
Organic Food, Slow Food;, Michelin Star, Food Trends, Quality, Products
Arbeit zitieren
Dirk Runge (Autor:in), 2010, Organic Food in German Michelin Star Restaurants, München, GRIN Verlag,


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