Horizon Organic president talks trends, merging with Danone
Company is offering more organic packaged food and beverages as well as increased transparency.
With consumer demand for organic products growing by double digits almost every year since the 1990s, it’s safe to say the organic trend is on fire.
According to the Organic Trade Association, more people, particularly millennials, want more transparency and prefer organic food to traditional fare. The association’s statistics estimate that organics now makes up 5 percent of all US food sales.
Horizon Organic has been providing organic milk to families across the country for more than twenty years. While the company still offers its milk, the number of food and beverage products produced has blossomed like the organics industry itself.
“While we will always have deep roots in organic dairy, we are evolving to provide options that satisfy families’ broader diets, such as macaroni and cheese, crackers and fruit snacks,” says Mike Ferry, president of Horizon Organic.
Ferry offered his insights on the industry and we’ve provided his answers below.
Ferry on increased competition in organics food and beverage products:
“It’s no surprise that with this level of success, we’re seeing many new entrants and partnerships in the organic space. This is ultimately a good thing since it will increase the visibility and demand for organic products, but it is important the organic industry maintains a level of integrity and standard of excellence that has been its hallmark for decades.”
Ferry on increased consumer demand for transparency:
“We are committed to openness and integrity across our product line, as well as extending that transparency throughout our supply chain to ensure we can educate our consumers. We also have a legacy of supporting GMO labeling efforts and will continue to provide certified and verified products that people can trust.”
Ferry on working with Horizon’s organic dairy farms and milk supply:
“We partner with nearly 700 family farms across the US to promote education, fair practices and a level playing field every step of the way. Each farm is required to demonstrate compliance with a site-specific organic system plan and National Organic Program standards. This is done via onsite monitoring, annual organic inspections by USDA-accredited certifying agent representatives or independent inspectors and routine visits from Horizon field personnel. All organic farms must be certified by an independent, third-party certifier to ensure stringent USDA organic standards are met. Organic certification includes annual inspections and spot checks. Our farmer partners may choose from USDA accredited certifiers. Quality Assurance International (QAI) certifies Horizon's company-owned farm.”
Ferry on increasing organic milk supply and helping more dairy farms transition to organic:
“We created the HOPE (Horizon Organic Producer Education) program to educate and support farmers transitioning to organic. We also celebrate excellence and invest in new generations of organic farmers. Our HOPE Award recognizes one outstanding family farm each year, and our HOPE Scholarships aide students pursuing careers in organic farming.”
Ferry on WhiteWave Foods (Horizon’s parent company) being acquired by Danone:
“We are thrilled to be preparing to merge with Danone. Danone is a fiercely purpose-driven company who is committed to advancing the organic movement. They share our values and not only want to create healthy great-tasting food, but are committed to doing so by making sure we are collectively helping take care of our planet, our farmers and our animals.”