A recent study from the Organic Monitor elaborates on the excessive amount of Eco Labels the average consumer has to wade through. With over 200 seals and logos representing everything from ethical, humane, Fair Trade, local, sustainable and natural, where does ORGANIC stand with consumers?
I believe that the USDA Organic label is the gold standard of sustainable agriculture. Organic farming is a way of producing food that doesn’t deplete the earth’s resources or pollute the environment. Instead, Organic Farming uses birds, insects and cover crops to eliminate pests, and employs crop rotation to combat weeds. Antibiotics and growth hormones are not needed because animals are treated humanely and their feed is balanced and clean – all of which reduces the spread of infections. GMO products are never allowed. Organic Farming has a real ecological effect on the environment as well as health benefits to those who eat it.
Consumer trends to eat more intentionally are growing as we can see with the rise of the myriad of competing and confusing labels and claims. I believe consumers yearn to trust in this ever-changing landscape of information overload, and what they most want to trust is the very food that sustains them.
How can we as an industry effectively share the knowledge of what organic truly represents and have it land with the intentional consumer? The organic label must be understood and then promoted in such a way that consumers look to the seal as their gold standard for all sustainable production practices.
It may be time for the NOP and our entire community to begin incorporating some additional core values into the organic regulations. If the regulations included our shared values such as fair working conditions and environmental impacts, the seal could become the most understood and embraced symbol for what a truly sustainable and fair food system could look like. An UBER seal is what the consumer wants . . . so let’s make it the Organic seal!