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Back in 1947, J.I. Rodale founded the Soil and Health Foundation, later to be renamed the Rodale Institute, to learn more about and teach the tenets of organic farming, based on his theory that to preserve and improve our health, we must restore and protect the natural health of the soil.
Rodale went on to write numerous books, and, of course, gave us Prevention magazine, and the Institute is still strong to this day.
There is little doubt that organic foods and beverages continue to grow in market share and abundance of products, and are no longer the fuel of choice for hippies – mainstream America has embraced organics and made Kroger’s organic line of private brands one of the fastest-growing in the history of supermarketing. So it should come as no surprise that huge food companies like General Mills have followed suit.
The big “G” announced that it expects to reach $1 billion in net sales from natural and organic products by 2019 from its brands, which include Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Lärabar, Liberté, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking and Annie’s, making General Mills the third-largest natural and organic food maker in the United States, and now among the top five organic-ingredient purchasers — and the second-largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables in North America.
And while the debate continues about the nutritional benefits of organic versus conventional; there is no debate that organics are a growing business, especially as consumers are becoming more interested in the sustainability of our environment and farming practices.
Last year, General Mills announced its goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its entire value chain over the next 10 years, with a long-term aspiration to achieve by 2050 sustainable emission levels in line with scientific consensus. And while it’s doubtful the move will bring Lucky Charms back to its former glory, there is no doubt that the move will help all of us and is a great example of how “big” food can be “better” food.