General Mills spotlights healthy soil, traceable organic ingredients
Published: June 6, 2018
Category: Organic News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
They’re known for Cheerios and Betty Crocker mixes—but are taking a radical turn to focus on the fertile territory of regenerative agriculture.
In addition to building its portfolio of natural and organic product brands, General Mills bought EPIC Provisions in 2016, a manufacturer of meat snacks using holistic sustainable land use practices. It nudged the company to reexamine how it sources ingredients and motivated it to incorporate regenerative practices.
General Mills needs to improve sustainability of all its ingredients, not just organic, said executive vice president John Church.
In March, the company partnered with a private equity group to transition a 34,000-acre farm in South Dakota to organic by 2020. General Mills will guarantee purchase of the crops, specifically wheat targeted for Annie’s pasta products. Encompassing 53 square miles, the land will be one of the U.S.’s largest contiguous organic farms and a laboratory for regenerative practices including tillage elimination, crop rotation, cover cropping, and grazing. Eventually, EPIC Provision meat ingredients will be grown on the farm.
General Mills is also investing $125,000 to assist Grain Millers, the world’s largest organic oat processor, in quantifying the most effective soil enhancement practices. Kent Solberg, grazing expert at Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, said regenerative growers are looking for markets for their “better-for-the-Earth “ crops—while processors want to find producers.
The company launched a limited edition line of Bunny Grahams and Mac n’ Cheese products in April, featuring ingredients from two regenerative farms in Montana.
Source: Star Tribune
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