In an effort to help support farmers and increase the amount of farmland dedicated to organic production, Kashi has introduced a second line of products in its growing Certified Transitional portfolio.
“We’re thrilled to announce this addition to our Certified Transitional portfolio,” said David Denholm, CEO at Kashi. “Chewy Nut Butter Bars represent another delicious way for consumers to join us on our mission to increase the amount of organic farmland in the US, one box at a time.”
Despite double-digit growth in consumer demand for organic foods every 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 seek to 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 but aren’t paid organic prices.
To help farmers meet rising demand for organics, Kashi partnered with organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI) last year to create Certified Transitional, a protocol which 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 needed to make the switch from conventional to organic. QAI led to the development of the label, with support from agricultural suppliers, a global environmental NGO, organic experts, farmers, retailers, distributors and food brands.
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QAI owns and manages the Certified Transitional protocol, which is available for any crop and brand that sources agricultural ingredients, including food and beverage, dietary supplements, cosmetics, household cleaners and textile products.
In 2016, Kashi purchased the first-ever crop of Certified Transitional ingredients — hard red winter wheat — sourced from 860 acres of transitional farmland for use in its Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits. After just one year, Kashi’s Certified Transitional products are now sourced from over 3,474 acres — more than quadrupling from the previous year — on their way to transitioning from conventional to organic. The launch of the brand’s new Chewy Nut Butter Bars builds on this momentum by showcasing other transitional ingredients, including almonds, dates and sorghum. In total, there now are 10 farms supplying Certified Transitional ingredients located in California, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
“As a farmer, I think the decision to switch to organic as an equation — with dozens of variables that must be considered — such as the projected price of organic products, consumer demand, changing environmental conditions and more,” said Richard Gemperle, president at Edelweiss Nut Company, who supplied almonds for the new Chewy Nut Butter bars. “For me, Certified Transitional changed the equation in favor of making the transition to organic, giving me a way to reap immediate economic benefits.”