Green Business Network Leader Clif Bar makes sustainability their imperative when meeting the consumer demand for organics and the company’s own mission to create a just food system. Since 2003, they have used 637 million pounds of organic ingredients and reached 73% organic ingredients. Transitioning to organic without raising product prices has required strategic moves in shaping their supply chain.
Consumer appetite for organic food is growing with annual sales increasing by 72% between 2008 and 2014 according to USDA data. While this shift in demand and conscious consumer mindsets is a movement in and of itself, meeting this demand with a supply of organic farmers is its own challenge.
The move from conventional farming to organic farming requires a three year lag time for soils to recover from pesticides and other prohibited substances. Companies, like Clif Bar, committed to overcoming these obstacles proceed creatively to strengthen their shift to organics. For instance, Clif Bar established a deal with California’s San Joaquin Figs farm to transition 300 additional acres to organics. They ensure financial stability for the farm by buying their smaller preexisting organic fig supply during the three-year transition and agreeing to then buy the newly-certified organic figs for seven years. Other brands, like Kashi, also innovate around the financial struggle of the three year transition by using a “Certified Transitional” label by Quality Assurance International (QAI) in hopes that informed customers will support the shift.
Clif Bar’s investment in organics means multiple benefits for the people and planet. They limit GMOs, toxic pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers in our agricultural system. They strengthen the health of rural communities. They protect biodiversity. They help fight climate change. They create more jobs. And they prove that a well-established food brand can succeed with an environmentally friendly food supply chain.
Clif Bar is a leading maker of nutritious, organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® Bar energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks, the employee and family-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community, and the planet.