It is a critical time for organic in the marketplace. Having surpassed $55 billion in annual sales and 82% household penetration, organic products have moved firmly into the mainstream. This comes at an important moment for shoppers, farmers, and the environment. It is also a time of unprecedented confusion in the marketplace. Dozens of competing labels are crowding the shelves. Some are meaningless; others may tout one or more benefits – but none of them come close to the defined, rigorous standards and enforcement that shoppers have come to trust in organic.
Finding solutions to plastic pollution is a growing concern for many organic companies--and consumers. For Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics on California’s Central Coast, using non-plastic packaging is a choice he made more than three years ago for packing berries and vegetables.
“A lot of our customers were concerned about the use of plastic clamshell packaging, and it was also a personal concern for me,” he says.
As shifts in food and ag proliferate, organic stays relevant and sets the bar
Last holiday season, we hosted over a two-week period our Keto-eating millennial relative (LOTS of meat), our vegan/plant-based friend (NO meat), along with other various flexitarian (SOMETIMES meat, depending on the day), grass-fed-milk-drinking (self-explanatory), Weight Watchers-following (Purple plan -- count the points!) and I’ll-eat-anything family members and acquaintances. The one common thread in all the menu preparations? As much organic food and organic ingredients as possible.
Millennials. The term has recently come under scrutiny for being overused at best and pejorative at worst. We’ve blamed this demographic for a variety of societal and economic ills, the conditions for most of which were set decades before their birth.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are the largest population group. Born between 1981 and 1997, they number 75.4 million, and have recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest group of voting-age American adults.
As CEO of an organic marketing company that represents over four thousand acres of organic permanent crop production and more than one hundred and fifty different growers, there are always more than enough concerns to go around, from water, to labor, to new crop diseases. As if that were not enough, all of us, as organic industry players, are fighting the continued struggle of protecting the image and integrity of our common brand and mission: Organic.
LUNDBERG FAMILY FARMS has partnered with Thai Organic & Fairtrade Agriculture Group—a network of Thai rice farmers—to bring organic, Fair Trade Certified™ Thai Hom Mali Jasmine Rice to U.S. retail shelves. The rice is grown in the Mekong River Valley of Thailand’s Amnat Charoen Province. The rice products are available in four pre-cooked microwavable pouches—white, brown, red, and red and white blend (www.lundberg.com).
Amy’s Kitchen has broken ground in Goshen, NY, for the construction of a 369,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center. Completion is scheduled for 2018, and will create 700 new jobs.
Aurora Organic Dairy Corp. is investing $100 million to build a new dairy processing and warehouse facility in Columbia, MO, to help facilitate distribution to the eastern United States. The company expects the plant to be fully operational in 2019.