In order to source ingredients for the increasing demand of its natural and organic foods, General Mills says it is committed to doubling its organic acreage, meeting a goal of 250,000 acres by 2019.
In February, Jeff Harmening, General Mills executive vice president and COO for US retail, said the company expects to reach $1 billion in net sales from natural and organic products by 2019, a full year ahead of its previous target.
Since 2009, General Mills has increased the organic acreage it supports by 120 percent and is now among the top organic ingredient purchasers–and the second largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables– in the North American packaged food sector, according to the company.
“To achieve the growth we anticipate for our natural and organic brands, we will need a more robust pipeline of organic growers,” says John Church, executive vice president, General Mills supply chain. “We're building strategic relationships directly with farmers for our products and are dedicated to working with growers to optimize production and quality, adopt standard practices and accelerate supply.”
Beginning in 2000, General Mills has acquired a portfolio of natural and organic brands that totaled $675 million dollars in pro forma net sales in 2015. These sales stemmed from brands that include Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, LÄRABAR, Liberté, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking, and Annie’s. In January, the company acquired meat snacks maker EPIC Provisions.