Kashi continues to expand its Certified Transitional portfolio, announcing that with the support of consumers, it will now source Certified Transitional ingredients from more than 4,200 acres of farmland across the US — a 400 percent increase since the start of the program in 2016. Participating farmers have received more than $1 million to support their transition from conventional to organic.
The company has also introduced a new product to its Certified Transitional portfolio, Cinnamon French Toast — the second cereal to carry the Certified Transitional seal. Kashi’s portfolio of eight Certified Transitional products also includes two new Chewy Nut Bar flavors.
“We’re proud to support thousands of acres of US farmland transitioning to organic through the Certified Transitional program since its inception in 2016,” said Nicole Nestojko, Senior Director of Supply Chain & Sustainability at Kashi. “When people enjoy a bowl of our new Cinnamon French Toast cereal — or any Certified Transitional product — they are helping increase the amount of organic farmland in the US, one box at a time.”
Despite double-digit growth in consumer demand for organic foods each year since the 1990s, organic acreage has not kept up. According to the USDA, less than one percent of US farmland is certified organic. While farmers increasingly recognize the benefits of certification, converting fields from conventional farming methods to organic takes at least three years and is no small feat. During the three-year transition, farmers use organic practices requiring increased investment but aren’t paid organic prices.
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Inspired to help farmers meet rising demand for organics, Kashi partnered with leading organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI) in 2016 to create Certified Transitional, a protocol that creates a new way for farmers to command slightly higher prices for their crops in transition during the three-year period — giving them the financial assurance they need to make the switch from conventional to organic. QAI led the development of the label, with support from agricultural suppliers, a global environmental NGO, organic experts, farmers, retailers, distributors and food brands.
QAI owns and manages the Certified Transitional protocol, which is available for any crop and brand that sources agricultural ingredients, including food and beverage.
Through the program, Certified Transitional farmers have received more than $1 million in premiums to support their transition to organic since 2016. A total of 15 farmers have supplied Certified Transitional ingredients from farmland in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
“I like to consider myself a ‘conductor in an ecological orchestra’ because it’s important to me to ensure that all unique parts of the farm are working together in harmony,” said Eric Thalken, President at Burkey LLC, who supplied corn for Kashi’s new Cinnamon French Toast cereal. “That’s why I’m transitioning to organic — to ensure I conduct my farm in the most sustainable tune.”