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It should come as no surprise that organic and natural products have launched a peaceful invasion into grocery aisles. Make no mistake, however: Although bloodless, this incursion represents an essential and lasting shift in many consumers’ eating habits, not just a passing fancy.
Aimee Sands of Napa, Calif.-based Annie’s Homegrown, a manufacturer of organic and natural snacks and other foods, attributes this shift to “a groundswell of interest [in] food quality, ingredients and the environmental impact of food,” adding that opportunities abound for organic/natural food purveyors to enter the back-to-school promotional derby as a way to capture eco- and nutrition-conscious families’ dollars: “Many [parents] feel organic and natural is a healthier choice for their children.”
Beyond appealing to parents’ sensibilities and influencing the palates of tomorrow’s shoppers, organic and natural brands are making sure they hold onto their current adherents by continuing to refine and improve their items, as is the case with Silk Soymilk from Broomfield, Colo.-based WhiteWave Foods. Not content to rest on its laurels as the No. 1 soymilk in the United States, Silk has reaffirmed its commitment to provide 100 percent non-GMO products made exclusively from North American soybeans through such means as changes to its offerings and the further development of its sourcing and production guidelines.
And since organic/natural food companies are particularly aware of a strong consumer connection between the perceived purity of such products and greener methods of manufacturing them, the rollout of facilities like Beech-Nut’s new state-of-the-art 650,000-square-foot infant food production facility in the Town of Florida, N.Y., for which the Amsterdam, N.Y.-based natural baby food maker has filed an application to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, reinforce that corporate social responsibility link and inspire further trust that the items offered are the real deal in terms of ingredients and environmental impact.