If you’ve walked into a Whole Food or Trader Joe’s lately, chances are that you are no stranger to organic food; however, a large percentage of American consumers do not have access to an organic or natural grocery store. Many mainstream retailers like Wal-Mart and Kroger offer some organic options, but many consumers do not consider buying organic at all because of the perception of high prices and lack of understanding of what organic means. Growth in the organic food sector is slow and steady, but younger generations are pulling out their growing wallets and seeking brands that align with their environmental values. At Manildra, our organic offerings span the spectrum of functionality, and offer brands opportunities for expansion and differentiation in the organic food market.
Back in 2002, the USDA created it’s widely known organic seal and established the National Organic Program (NOP) with the objective to “develop and enforce consistent national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States.” (1). Technically, USDA Organic is the only federally defined and enforceable eco-label that defines specific ecological management practices, prohibits the usage of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs, pesticides, ionizing radiation, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives for farmers, processors, and retail brands (2). The only way a product can be labeled organic and display the USDA organic seal is if 95% or more of the ingredients are organic certified (excluding water and salt), and the remaining 5% of ingredients and/or processing aids must be 1) non-GMO and 2) be listed on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. If brands wish to claim “100% Organic” then the product must be produced from 100% certified organic ingredients including processing aids (2). But organic rules don’t stop with product labelling requirements. Organic farmers have specific soil conservation and chemical application requirements that encourage regenerative farming practices and require full supply chain traceability. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the average organic farm emits 40% fewer carbon emissions when compared to conventional and produces healthier soils that contain 13% higher total organic matter (4). Many of these practices are designed to promote soil health and conservation whose ultimate goal is to reduce the ecological impact and improve the sustainability of industrial farming operations.
According to the OTA, organic marketplace sales increased from $6 billion in 2002 to $67.6 billion in 2022 - See photo below (4). Today, the organic food and beverage industry accounts for over 6% of overall food sales (4) and continues to grow YOY (5). Despite the growth in the organic food category, consumers often perceive cost as a barrier to entry as 73% of non-natural and organic shoppers agreeing that organic is simply too expensive (3). However, recent analysis from Whipstich Capital shows that price premiums are decreasing between conventional and organic food items. In 2018, the price difference for organic versus premium was roughly 10%, and in 2023 that price difference is now around 2% (1) meaning that organic products are competitively priced against conventional items. The decrease in price discrepancy of organic products does not necessarily equate to consistent purchasing across all ages groups. In 2022, Acosta Group found that younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, are the primary and repeated buyers of organic across the grocery store (1). Younger consumers are seeking brands that are in alignment with their ecological values, and early adopters of this trend will likely reap the long-term benefits.
Manildra has been the leading supplier of organic vital wheat gluten in the United States for the last twenty years, and our committment to organic offerings is unwavering. Known for its use in bread and buns, organic Gem of the West vital wheat gluten provides opportunities for portfolio diversity in emerging and growing markets including organic plant-based meats, organic snacks, and organic flatbreads. Did you also know that we offer organic GemPro wheat proteins? Whether you need elastic strength with organic GemPro HPG, panflow with organic GemPro Prime-E, or an organic reducing agent with organic GemPro Ultra, our organic offerings cover the viscoelastic spectrum. Looking to replace eggs in an organic pasta product, then look no further than our organic GemPro Plus. But the buck doesn't stop there in replacing eggs; our newest GemPro wheat protein, GemPro Nova, can also be an organic option for replacing eggs in multiple bakery applications. Starches can be organic too! Both our GemStar and GemGel wheat starch portfolios come in organic. Organic GemStar 100 can provide bright white color and viscosity during cook-up in a bakery or donught mix, and organic GemGel 100 can provide instant solubility and viscosity in any batter system. As a trusted supplier of high quality ingredients, you can count on Manildra to provide the best products organic wheat has to offer.
1) What is Organic? (foodbeverageinsider.com)
2) Health-Conscious, ‘Climatarian’ Shoppers Want to Buy Organic | Prepared Foods
3) Organic Opportunities for Food & Beverage Brands | Prepared Foods
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