How Organic Food Companies Can Adapt to Significant Industry Changes

How Organic Food Companies Can Adapt to Significant Industry Changes

Despite the fact that the organic food industry continues to experience rapid growth, operating in the sector today may be more difficult and complex than ever. This is because tremendous structural shifts in the industry have been taking place, which has forced companies to continually readjust how they are approaching the market. I recently caught […]

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Despite the fact that the organic food industry continues to experience rapid growth, operating in the sector today may be more difficult and complex than ever.

This is because tremendous structural shifts in the industry have been taking place, which has forced companies to continually readjust how they are approaching the market.

I recently caught up with Tyler Lowell, Managing Partner at C.A. Fortune, one of the country’s leading full-service consumer products sales and marketing agencies, to get his take on the state of the industry and how organic food companies can best position themselves moving forward.

What has been the driving force in the sales and distribution landscape over the past few years?

One of the prevailing trends in the industry today is consolidation, and this has had a dramatic impact on how companies are approaching their sales and marketing initiatives.

Whether it’s large food conglomerates (General Mills, Conagra, Campbell’s, Hormel, Unilever, etc.) acquiring innovative, trend-forward organic brands, retailers joining forces (Albertsons/Safeway, Amazon/Whole Foods, Kroger/Mariano’s, etc.), national distributors narrowing in on regional players (KeHE/Monterrey, UNFI/Haddon House), or agencies (our space) seeking to build out their territory platform, each sector of the industry is applying keen focus on strategic moves that will position themselves well into the future. Companies cannot afford to be left behind. Read more »


Take Action: Tell the National Organic Standards Board “NO” to Hydroponics

Take Action: Tell the National Organic Standards Board "NO" to Hydroponics

Please tell the NOSB to recommend that hydroponics be removed from organic. To do so, you can sign the Organic Consumers Association’s e-petition by clicking HERE. Important: The deadline to act is 11:59pm tonight, so don’t delay. — One of the most controversial aspects of organic is that hydroponically-grown vegetables are being allowed under the […]

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(Hydroponic growing system – does this look “organic” to you?)

Please tell the NOSB to recommend that hydroponics be removed from organic. To do so, you can sign the Organic Consumers Association’s e-petition by clicking HERE.

Important: The deadline to act is 11:59pm tonight, so don’t delay.

One of the most controversial aspects of organic is that hydroponically-grown vegetables are being allowed under the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Why is this a problem?

Organic was founded on the basis of growing plants in the soil. Period.

People buy organic because it tastes better, has superior nutrition, and is optimal for the environment. And this is all the result of the rich soil in organic farms. Read more »


Another Reason to Eat Organic – Higher Levels of Antioxidants in Onions

Another Reason to Eat Organic - Higher Levels of Antioxidants in Onions

When people ask why they should be eating organic, there are several answers. First, organic prohibits the use of super-toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate.

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When people ask why they should be eating organic, there are several answers.

First, organic prohibits the use of super-toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate. Read more »


Don’t Be Influenced By Pretty-Looking Organic Egg Cartons

Don't Be Influenced By Pretty-Looking Organic Egg Cartons

Whether you’re new to organic or have been eating it for decades, here is a very likely scenario when you go to buy eggs. You stand in the refrigerated section of the market, look at all of options, check out the prices and make a decision largely based on the packaging of each brand. Some […]

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Whether you’re new to organic or have been eating it for decades, here is a very likely scenario when you go to buy eggs.

You stand in the refrigerated section of the market, look at all of options, check out the prices and make a decision largely based on the packaging of each brand.

Some have attractive pictures of rolling farmland, others show actual farmers, some have photos of the animals. Most certainly, the brands are using buzz words such as “cage-free”, “sunlit porches”, “omega 3-s” or “heritage breed”.

Are these brands being falsely deceptive?

I don’t believe so at all. They are trying to make the packaging as attractive as possible, and rightly so. I would do the exact same thing.

While brand recognition and price are key factors, what the packaging looks like and the emotional reaction that it has on you can heavily influence purchasing decisions.

As I have written about before, all organic eggs are NOT the same — all birds are fed differently and are treated differently — but people forget this and may get seduced by wholesome, folksy packaging.

So, I took a sampling of 8 different organic egg brands and pulled their ratings from the Cornucopia’s Organic Egg Scorecard to see how they stacked up versus the attractiveness of the packaging.

The Organic Egg Scorecard classifies each brand into one of five categories:

“5-Egg” Rating: “Exemplary” – Beyond organic

“4-Egg” Rating: “Excellent” – Organic promoting outdoor access

“3-Egg” Rating: “Good to Very Good” – Organic, complying with minimum USDA standards

“2-Egg” Rating: “Fair” – Some questions remain concerning compliance with organic standards

“1-Egg” Rating: “Industrial Organics” – No meaningful outdoor access and/or non-transparent

Here is what I found.

VITAL FARMS === 4-EGG RATING

Read more »


IMPORTANT AND URGENT: Help Save Ron Finley’s ‘Gangsta Garden’ in South Central LA

IMPORTANT AND URGENT: Help Save Ron Finley's 'Gangsta Garden' in South Central LA

If you are a frequent or new reader of my blog, I ask you to please do two things: 1) Watch the video above about Ron Finley, the ‘gangsta gardener’ in South Central LA. 2) Read the below and help save his operation in Los Angeles. He is under a very serious threat of eviction, and […]

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If you are a frequent or new reader of my blog, I ask you to please do two things:

1) Watch the video above about Ron Finley, the ‘gangsta gardener’ in South Central LA.

2) Read the below and help save his operation in Los Angeles. He is under a very serious threat of eviction, and we must do whatever we can to help save him. Ron is one of our own, and it is imperative that he continue with his very important work.

Over the past week or so, there have been emails circulating throughout the organic industry from John Foraker, President of Annie’s, about Ron Finley. Read more »


Report: What the Habits and Motivation of Organic Shoppers are Telling Us

Report: What the Habits and Motivation of Organic Shoppers are Telling Us

Acosta, a sales and marketing organization for the food industry, recently published an interesting research report called Back to our Roots: The Rise of the Natural/Organic Shopper. While it is common knowledge that the macro trends of the organic industry are very favorable and conventional supermarkets are embracing organic more than ever, the report takes […]

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(Photo courtesy of Acosta)

(Photo courtesy of Acosta)

Acosta, a sales and marketing organization for the food industry, recently published an interesting research report called Back to our Roots: The Rise of the Natural/Organic Shopper.

While it is common knowledge that the macro trends of the organic industry are very favorable and conventional supermarkets are embracing organic more than ever, the report takes a deeper look at the habits, motivation and preferences of organic shoppers. Read more »


Transitional Program will Increase U.S. Organic Acreage and is a Great Development – What You Need to Know

Transitional Program will Increase U.S. Organic Acreage and is a Great Development - What You Need to Know

One of the major challenges that organic farmers face is the transition period in switching from a conventional farm to a certified organic farm. Under current USDA rules, the soil on a farm needs to be verified by an organic certifier that it has not been sprayed with toxic pesticides for the previous 36 months. […]

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transitional-organic-program-seal

One of the major challenges that organic farmers face is the transition period in switching from a conventional farm to a certified organic farm. Under current USDA rules, the soil on a farm needs to be verified by an organic certifier that it has not been sprayed with toxic pesticides for the previous 36 months.

This presents a serious financial hurdle for farmers because they are essentially being asked to farm organically yet must sell their products in the marketplace at conventional prices for three years.

An excellent new program called the National Certified Transitional Program (NCTP), developed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and in partnership with the USDA, is seeking to make this transition period less burdensome for farmers, with the goal of getting more of them to switch to organic. Read more »