The New Face of Organics: Sustainability & More

June 01, 2010

Organic is everywhere.

Organic is everywhere. The USDA green and white organic stamp can be found on food labels, clothing labels, pet products, body care, cleaning products and more. But what about sales? The Lempert Report, believes that consumers are confused, misinformed, and just don't know what to expect when buying organic - and sales are undeniably suffering.
The National Organics Program defines the organic system as “the way agricultural products are grown, harvested and processed. It includes …production, processing, distribution and sales… Governed by strict governmental standards… products bearing the organic label are made without the use of toxic, and persistent pesticides and synthetic nitrogen (and petroleum) based fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or irradiation… organic is the most heavily regulated and closely monitored production system in the U.S.”
Clearly organic food isn’t about a nutrition facts panel that boasts more vitamins and minerals, but in fact many organic products have quite an interesting story to tell - and more to offer. And consumers are becoming more and more interested in the entire story- just check out the product and company rating criteria on the Good Guide. Organic food brands should leverage the story of the supply chain, or sustainability practices, etc. - for marketing their products. The growth of organic sales has declined; if not for better nutrition, consumers are at a loss for understanding why they should pay a premium for organics.
According to the Organic Monitor, organic food companies are increasingly highlighting sustainability values to attract customers who may be looking for more than just the green and white stamp on products. Amarjit Sahota, director of Organic Monitor told FoodNavigator, “improving and marketing environmental credentials is an obvious choice. Organic food consumers as a group are likely to be concerned about the environment and companies often have a head start on conventional rivals when it comes to existing practices… Sustainability has been built into the corporate DNA of many organic firms.”
Whether it’s committing to make all of your organic products certified fair trade, providing greater transparency and traceability, or in response to climate change- offsetting carbon emissions, or investing in ethical sourcing projects in developing countries, adopting or highlighting other aspects of your organic business are crucial to keeping organic options on the shelves.