Stonyfield Farm has taken the transparency of its supply chain to a new level by creating a source map for each of its ingredients.
The New Hampshire-based organic dairy brand worked with SourceMap to create a map detailing the location, farm conditions and history for each of its ingredients, ranging from the dairy farms that supply its milk to the peaches, pears and raspberries that flavor its products.
The company’s suppliers are predominantly small, family-run farming businesses; the source map includes a profile of the family behind the practice at each location. SourceMap paid a visit to Wood Turner, Stonyfield’s VP of Sustainability Innovation, and Ingredients Supply Manager Derek Singer to hear about how and why they created it.
Stonyfield Farm started out as a research project at MIT with ambitions to build a new business model around making products in the most sustainable way possible. It began the process of creating a source map back in 2010 while working on this research project, with a belief in the importance of increasing business transparency so consumers can really see what they’re buying.
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Over its 30-year growth period, the underlying mission of the company remains the same. Stonyfield started out as a non-profit organic farming school back in 1983 with a mission to help family farms survive, and keep its food and production processes healthy and sustainable. To keep the school running, it needed a source of income — that’s when co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg began selling organic yogurt from their small New Hampshire farm. Stonyfield Farm was born.
Stonyfield now produces a range of organic products ranging from yogurt, cream and butter to baby-friendly and lactose-free offerings. The company commits to supplying its products from organic farms where no pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones or GMOs are used.
Building the source map of its supply chain is just the latest step Stonyfield has taken in increasing their engagement and dialogue with both its consumers and its suppliers. Last year, signed on as the first user of SupplyShift – a cloud-based supply chain-management platform that helps buyers and suppliers to communicate and create shared value while improving supply chain performance, by offering a fresh approach for companies to support their suppliers in transitioning to more responsible practices.
Stonyfield isn't the only food brand being proactively transparent about its products. Late last year, McDonald’s launched an unprecedentedly candid campaign, “Our Food. Your Questions,” in order to assuage consumer concerns about how exactly it’s food is made. And in December, as part of its commitment to have a positive impact on the food system and provide transparency, Panera Bread shared progress on the further reduction of antibiotic usage and confinement for farm animals in its U.S. supply chain.