With the KIND Almond Acres Initiative, the snack bar brand begins work to future-proof its #1 ingredient.
Today, KIND Snacks launches the KIND Almond Acres Initiative — a three-year pilot project in regenerative agriculture.
Building off of the snack brand’s announcement last year of progress made on its prior commitment to source 100 percent of its almonds from bee-friendly farms by 2025, the KIND Almond Acres Initiative will expand its commitment to sustainable almond sourcing and provide key insights to help inform how it can source 100 percent of its almonds from orchards practicing regenerative agriculture on a mass-balance basis by 2030. These two commitments work hand in hand to better all aspects of almond farming — from the soil to the bees; and of course, almonds.
Almonds are KIND’s number-one ingredient — the lead ingredient in over 45 of its products. The company purchases millions of pounds of almonds each year, which is why it decided to test and learn how to grow almonds more sustainably.
KIND Almond Acres Initiative will introduce a mix of new technologies with best practices from regenerative ag across 500 acres in California — where 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown. Implementing the practices on the ground is KIND’s partner, olam food ingredients (ofi) — which owns the almond trees on the project acres. Throughout this pilot, KIND hopes to gather the data and learnings needed to find the best combination of practices that will provide measurable benefits to the soil, the farm as a whole and the planet. The learnings from this pilot will help set environmental targets and help inform how KIND will reach its goal by 2030.
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Strategically chosen by ofi and KIND, the practices on the ground include:
Cover crops: Using a blend of five cover crops to test how introducing this practice can build soil structure, increase soil carbon levels, create pollinator habitats, and help the land become more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
Subsurface irrigation: The California almond community has committed to reducing the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds by an additional 20 percent by 2025. To understand the best way to achieve this, KIND is investigating technology such as subsurface irrigation. This is an irrigation system that should allow growers to ensure more of the water applied is used directly by the tree.
Whole orchard recycling: Dedicating 38 acres to testing whole orchard recycling’s effect on soil health.
Compost and biochar: Testing if adding compost and biochar can increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil, decrease the need for excess fertilizer and improve soil water retention.
Off-ground harvesting: Collecting the almonds off of trees instead of from the ground decreases soil disturbance and reduces the amount of dust in the air during harvest, which could improve air quality and carbon sequestration.
“ofi’s partnership with KIND represents a massive joint effort in regenerative agriculture. We are learning how to pair innovative sustainable technology with traditional farming practices, so we can find a combination that creates a positive change for the planet,” said Zac Ellis, Senior Director of Agronomy at ofi. “Efforts like these leverage our global expertise to build a more sustainable way of farming almonds.”
Continuing its investment throughout its supply chain, KIND has become a member of the California Water Action Collaborative (CWAC) — a network of leading environmental organizations, food/ag and beverage companies, and retail and tech companies that work together to pursue collective action projects that will improve California’s water security for people, business, agriculture and nature.
“KIND uses millions of pounds of almonds a year, so joining CWAC is a huge first step in collaborating with the broader industry while helping to build water resilience in California,” said Caitlin Birkholz, Regenerative Agriculture Pillar Lead at KIND, “and we cannot think of a better time to join than the launch of the KIND Almond Acres Initiative.”
In tandem with the KIND Almond Acres Initiative, the brand is investing in the next generation of sustainable change agents by working with UC Merced — an HSI (Hispanic-serving Institution) and one of the most sustainable universities in the country — to award the first-ever “KIND to the planet” scholarship.
“This will tremendously help our students, many of which are first-generation students, and continue to give back to our planet by investing in the future generation that’s going to change the world,” said Monica Sozinho, Director of Corporate Relations at UC Merced. “It means a lot to our students to see a brand like KIND invest in our local community and for an initiative that they care deeply about — helping the planet.”
To celebrate the KIND Almond Acres Initiative with consumers, KIND is inviting them to join its regenerative-ag journey through several immersive experiences across multiple digital platforms:
KIND is partnering with Snapchat to create the platform’s first-ever lens dedicated to regenerative agriculture in almonds. This experience will take Snapchat users on a virtual “visit” to the KIND Almond Acres Initiative, where they can learn more about regenerative ag and the new growing techniques being tested on the acres.
KIND is also debuting an interactive Almond Acres landing page that will showcase the progress and results of the KIND Almond Acres Initiative, as well as the ongoing sustainability partnerships with CWAC and UC Davis — KIND’s long-term sustainability & research partner — helping to understand how pollinator health and regenerative ag can help future-proof the almond industry.
“We know that regenerative agriculture can be challenging to understand. We know our consumers want to engage in learning how to be kinder to our planet, and that is why we’re welcoming everyone into the living, learning lab that is the KIND Almond Acres Initiative,” said Kelly Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer at KIND. “We believe it is our responsibility to lead the almond industry towards a kinder way to grow almonds, and we are so proud and excited to be the brand paving the way.”