Taking Food Certification to the Next Level: From "Organic" to "Regenerative Organic"

March 13, 2018
By: Richard M. Blau, Chair, Food Law Industry Team

The growing social acceptance of “organic” as an integral component of America’s food supply is undeniable. Organic food sales in the United States increased by 8.4% during the 2016 calendar year to reach $43 billion, marking the first time sales surpassed $40 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association's industry survey, released on May 24, 2017. The 8.4% jump contrasted to an increase of only 0.6% in overall U.S. food market sales. Moreover, organic fruits and vegetables, the largest organic food category, accounted for nearly 40% of all organic food sales, rising 8.4% to $15.6 billion in 2016. Organic fruit and vegetables made up almost 15% of the produce that Americans consumed in 2016. Sales of organic meat and poultry rose more than 17% in 2016, to $991 million in 2016. Organic dips and organic spices, although still smaller categories, recorded double-digit jumps in sales; organic dip sales increased 41% to $57 million, and organic spice sales increased 35% to $193 million.

Against this continuing growth in the organic category, sustainability-minded agriculturalists have joined together to take America’s food industry to the next level. A consortium of companies and organizations, including The Rodale Institute, Dr. Bronner's, Patagonia, Compassion in World Farming, Demeter, Fair World Project, Grain Place Foods, Maple Hill Creamery, and White Oak Pastures, have banded together create The Regenerative Organic Alliance. The new organization’s core mission is to develop and promote adoption of a “regenerative organic” certification, which will be administered by international certification specialist NSF International. 

Regenerative Organic Certification builds upon the near 100-year legacy of organic movement visionaries like J. I. Rodale and Dr. Rudolf Steiner and provides step-by-step “best practices” guidance for sustainable farming and ranching operations, agricultural transportation, livestock slaughter and processing facilities that produce food, cosmetics and fiber. To read the full article, check it out on the Food Law website.