The availability of organic foods continues to increase exponentially. Yet, despite double-digit growth in consumer demand for organic foods every year since the 1990s, organic acreage has not kept up, according to the U.S.D.A. In fact, less than 1% of U.S. farmland is certified organic. (Food Business News) So, how can the supply begin to meet the demand?
It all comes back to needing more organic farms. This proves to be more complicated than one might think, as a farm must undergo a process that requires meeting USDA Organic standards for three years before qualifying to convert from conventional to organic. This causes a lot of economic uncertainty for farmers, but some companies are taking steps to incentivise them.
Kashi’s “Certified Transitional” program guarantees that certain products will utilize grains for transitional farms, in hopes to convert more farms to organic throughout the country. The Dark Cocoa Karma Cereal utilizes wheat from transitional farms exclusively, and Kashi continues to integrate more transitional ingredients into more products. The packaging design doesn’t differ much from other products from the brand, but the mark for “Certified Transitional” is proudly displayed along with “Non-GMO” and “Fair Trade” certifications. In 2015, Clif Bar made an agreement with one of its growers to transition their farm from conventional to organic, offsetting the cost by agreeing to purchase the crops for seven years after receiving organic certification. The company also bought the farm’s “transition period” crops. Bigger companies like White Wave Foods and Costco are reported to be following suit by utilizing transitional ingredients, so we are likely to see more foods labeled as “Certified Transitional” by the Organic Trade Association.