This New Food Label Will Mainstream Whole Foods’ Biggest Trend For 2020 – Forbes

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“We plan to make Regenerative Organic Certified products publicly available after the Natural Foods Expo in 2020,” promises Rodale Institute CEO, Jeff Moyer, of the food label that will mainstream what Whole Foods says is the biggest food trend for 2020.

The Certification— Regenerative Organic (ROC)— will be applied to foods made of organic agricultural ingredients, sourced from farms that embrace pasture-based animal welfare, provide fair labour and economic stability for farmers and communities, and prioritise soil health, biodiversity, land management and carbon sequestration. The certification will receive oversight from the Regenerative Organic Alliance, a coalition led by the Rodale Institute, Dr. Bronner’s and Patagonia.

For those who have yet to jump on the regenerative bandwagon, the movement which began in the 1980’s takes the words “sustainable” and “organic” one step further, with a systems based approach to agriculture that Vandana Shiva, Co-Founder of Regeneration International, says contains the “answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.” This evolution is particularly significant, given the image crisis surrounding the well-publicised limitations of the USDA Certified Organic standard.

By placing soil health at the heart of all farming practices, regenerative agriculture offers comfort in light of the United Nations’ prediction that, under current conditions, the world’s soils will be completely degraded within the next 60 years, and offers hope for the mitigation and potential reversal of climate change, given the enhanced ability of healthy soils to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal confirms that “A mere two percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.”

But it doesn’t end there.

“It’s not just about carbon,” stresses Moyer. “Growing food that promotes soil health, animal welfare and social justice is what regenerative agriculture is all about; by labelling foods regenerative organic, individuals will be able to connect with a full suite of values that extend beyond the food that they are consuming.”

But the concept of regeneration has yet to be fully mainstreamed. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s Food & Health Survey of 2019, only 22% of consumers say that they have heard of regenerative agriculture, while 55% have heard of the term but indicate a desire to learn more.

Of the trendsetters on Whole Foods’ list of what will be hot in 2020— alternative flours, Ghanaian foods, organic kids’ food, sugar substitutes, etc.— regenerative is the only trend with a systems rather than a product focus.

Without a label, Whole Foods’ number one ranked trend would be confined to the domain of food producers; the average consumer would be unable to prioritise or even differentiate food sourced from one farming system over another, given a lack of information. This would make regenerative a fairly useless consumer trend.

Making ROC-certified products publicly available means that regenerative will finally go mainstream. Labels provide consumers with awareness around issues surrounding the foods that they eat and in the case of the ROC label, shoppers will be able to distinguish among the types of food systems from which their favourite foods are sourced. They will also be able to make logical connections between ROC-certified foods and premium prices, as has been the case for USDA certified organic products.

The Regenerative Organic Certification will enable savvy consumers to make the most socially and environmentally conscious decisions around not just the foods but more importantly, the food systems that they support.

And with the certification’s tiered approach, farmers will also be incentivised to improve their local food systems.

“The three-tiered standard, that includes Bronze, Silver and Gold will give farms the opportunity to dedicate themselves to continuous improvement,” explains Moyer.

“We are excited that all of these values will finally get to be represented in the marketplace.”

Source: Thanks https://www.forbes.com/sites/daphneewingchow/2019/12/20/this-new-food-label-will-mainstream-whole-foods-biggest-trend-for-2020/