Latest Trends in Organic Food Quality

Organic foods and organic produce have risen in popularity in the past five to ten years. As we learn more about food production – thanks to the high number of recent food-related documentaries like Food, Inc., Food Matters, and Ingredients – we have begun to crave wholesome and unprocessed meals for our families. But even the concept of organic food is not always straightforward. As organic food has become a demand for more and more Americans, regulators have fought over precisely what it means to produce food organically.

For example, as consumers demand not only organic food but also healthier food, many researchers are trying to produce more natural preservatives to replace the artificial flavors and preservatives that many foods contain. As of a matter of fact, “natural preservatives” represented a 12.6% market share between 2013 and 2014; and experts expect that share to increase to more than 13% by 2020. Although artificial flavors are still present even in organic foods, this trend is diminishing rapidly.

The concept of small, local family farms dominates the culture of organics. Although some of the world’s leading brands – Kashi and Stonybrook Farm, among others – are actually huge operations, they thrive on presenting the image that they are small-scale and nostalgic in their business practices. This projected image coincides with the growing local food movement. The more consumers demand organic food, the more they begin to understand that not all organic food is created equal – it’s also important to know where your food comes from. The concept of “organic” is intrinsically tied to the concept of holistic eating. It’s not just about what was used to make your food, it’s about who grew that food, and how they were treated, and where your food came from. Thus, most companies strive to couple their healthy food with fair wages for workers and proper care for animals.

This correlates to another trend in organic food, which is the idea of authenticity. Businesses like Kashi and Stonybrook pride themselves on being open and honest about their business practices, so as to further the concept that they provide the best choices for families across the country. The organics industry is growing in part because it stands in sharp contrast to other industries that refuse to disclose information. When authenticity is a hallmark of your business, it’s easier to compete with fast food companies who are newsworthy precisely because of the ingredients used in their products that they’ve never revealed to the public.

Tillamook – although not a strictly “organic” company – is a leader in all of these concepts. This dairy co-op, with headquarters located in Oregon, leads the American market in all-natural, local, and authentic concepts of business. Tillamook is farmer-owned, and their cows are sourced from dozens of farmers local to the Pacific Northwest. They maintain rigorous environmental standards, even going so far as making sure their farmers dispose of animals’ waste in a particular way. They excel at promoting a local business concept while selling their product on a national scale.

In looking at Tillamook’s business model, we have a good idea of where the all-natural and organic industry may be headed.

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