Partnering with Quality Assurance International, Kashi launched a new initiative aimed at boosting the acreage of organic farmland to make organic foods more accessible for American consumers. Dubbed “Certified Transitional,” the program features products containing ingredients sourced from farms currently in the process of transforming their land from conventional to organic.
Consumer interest in organic products has steadily risen in recent years, growing by double-digits every year since the 1990s according to USDA. But organic acreage hasn’t kept up the pace, with only an estimated once percent of farmland dedicated to organic crops.
“One percent organic acreage is just not enough – and we want to promote solutions that benefit everyone working to move organic farming forward,” says David Denholm, CEO of Kashi. “We believe championing farms in transition will make organic foods more accessible and support a more sustainable food system – for all of us.”
The new program will identify farms that are “organics in training” and purchase their crops as farmers face the financial and resource challenges of transitioning to organic. According to USDA’s regulations, a crop is eligible to receive organic certification if it, and the land on which it’s grown, have been free from pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years.
To kick off the initiative, Kashi will debut a new Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits cereal in June which uses the company’s first transitional crop purchase of hard red winter wheat.
“Certified Transitional connects farmers, processors, brands and consumers together in a virtuous cycle that supports the transition of more acreage to organic practices,” says Sarah Krol, global managing director, QAI, Inc. “For the first time, brands can offer Certified Transitional products to consumers which in turn allows consumers to support farmers as they transition fields to organic – we hope to see many more Certified Transitional products on shelves.”