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Special Diets

GeeFree Foods Launches Microwavable Sandwich Pockets

GeeFree Foods recently launched a line of gluten-free, all-natural, frozen, microwavable sandwich pockets in three varieties: Sausage, Egg and Cheese; Buffalo Chicken; and Cheese Pizza. GeeFree is the only manufacturer of gluten-free puff pastry products in the United States.

Encased in GeeFree’s signature pastry dough, the sandwich pockets come two per box and are free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, corn and soy. The microwavable sleeves keep them crispy. They retail for $6.99.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese sandwich pockets are packed with uncured sausage, egg, and cheddar cheese. Each 4.5 ounce serving has 320 calories and 12 grams of protein. The Buffalo Chicken variety is loaded with chicken, buffalo sauce, celery, blue cheese and other delicious ingredients. Each 4.5 ounce serving has 350 calories and 7 grams of protein. Finally, the Cheese Pizza version is brimming with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and zesty herbs. Each 4.5 ounce serving has 390 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Since receiving an infusion of capital from its new investment partner Procida Funding and Advisors, GeeFree has broadened its distribution channels. The brand is now sold in 43 states.

Organic Farmers Association Announces Policy Leadership

Organic Farmers Association, a national membership organization for certified organic farmers, sponsored by Rodale Institute, has announced a new Policy Director and elected the first Policy Committee. This new leadership will facilitate Organic Farmers Association’s policy platform created by certified organic farmer members.

Mark Rokala will serve as Policy Director and lead policy work, under the direction of the newly elected policy committee and coordinating closely with the Organic Farmers Association Director Kate Mendenhall and Steering Committee Chair Jim Riddle. Rokala will be leading work on the farm bill, helping identify Organic Farmers Association farmer members’ policy priorities, connecting members with Congressional leaders, and ensuring that the nation’s federal policies help support thriving independent organic farmers.

Rokala has more than 28 years of experiences in agriculture policy, with 23 of those years working on state and federal agricultural policy. He worked for seven years as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill and 16 years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. focusing on agricultural and food policy.

“The Organic Farmers Association is excited to welcome Mark Rokala as our Policy Director,” said Jim Riddle. “Given the proven power of organic production to promote soil health, produce healthy food, and restore rural economic vitality, organic farmers must make our voices heard in D.C. Mark has a great deal of experience working on federal farm policy, and will help members of Congress and federal agencies understand the importance of investing in and protecting organic systems.”

The first elected Policy Committee is made up of 12 voting certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members. Committee members are regionally diverse and reflect the national diversity of organic farms. The Policy Committee will facilitate OFA’s policy platform, created by certified organic farmer members. From its start in the fall of 2016, Organic Farmers Association has been working to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement with a strong voice advocating for organic farmers. This first Policy Committee will help guide this work forward from the ground up.

2017 Policy Committee includes:
California Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Kenneth Kimes, Greensward / New Natives, LLC, Aptos, California
Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures, Fresno, California
California Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
David Runsten, Policy Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, California
Western Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm & Ranch, Big Sandy, Montana
Pryor Garnett, Garnetts Red Prairie Farm, Sheridan, Oregon
Western Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Kristina Hubbard, Director of Advocacy, Organic Seed Alliance, Missoula, Montana
North Central Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Francis Thicke, Radiance Dairy Fairfield, Iowa
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm, Gays Mills, Wisconsin
North Central Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Matthew Miller, Policy Committee Member, Iowa Organic Association, Ames, Iowa
Midwest Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Michael Adsit, Plymouth Orchards, Plymouth, Michigan
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
Midwest Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Casey Trinkaus, Livestock & Poultry Specialist, The Fertrell Company, Bainbridge, Pennsylvania
Southern Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Laura Freeman, Mt. Folly Farm, Winchester, Kentucky
Jennifer Taylor, Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, Georgia
Southern Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Michael Sligh, Program Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Pittsboro, North Carolina
Northeast Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Rodney Graham, Oxbow Organic Farm, Hunt, New York
Dave Chapman Long Wind Farm, East Thetford, Vermont
Northeast Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Edward Maltby Executive Director, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Deerfield, Massachusetts

Today’s Millennial: Tomorrow’s Organic Parent

Twenty-five percent of the Millennials in America are parents. In the next 10 to 15 years, 80 percent of Millennials will be moms and dads. What this means for the organic market could be transformative.

A new and expanded survey on the organic attitude of U.S. families released September 14 by the Organic Trade Association shows that Millennials are big buyers of organic, and that becoming a parent will only deepen the strong affinity for organic shared by this powerful generation.

“Millennials are the largest consumer group in the United States, and they’re choosing organic. As more members of this generation become parents, their presence in the organic market will just get stronger,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “This year’s survey findings clearly show the positive relationship between organic and parenting. Exciting times lie ahead for the organic sector. Over  the next 10 years, we’ll see a surge of new organic eaters and consumers —  the Millennial parents of tomorrow and their children.”

For the first time in the eight-year history of the survey, the 2017 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Behaviors Study included households without children. Last year’s survey studied generational buying habits of U.S. households, and found that Millennial parents – parents in the 18- to 35-year-old age range — are now the biggest group of organic buyers in America. This year’s study goes even deeper and looks at the organic attitudes and buying habits of today’s Millennial without children.

Today’s definition of a family includes a diverse combination of household members, and this year’s survey reflects that. The study segmented the population in three household composition categories: (1) Millennials without children, (2) Millennials with children and (3) Parents aged 36 – 64 years.

The Connection Between Organic and Parenting

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event.  Having children shifts our values, priorities and even our buying behaviors. And so it is with the organic consumer. The survey shows that the heavy buyer of organic – the consumer who always or most of the time chooses organic — is driven by a strong belief that selecting organic for their family makes them a better parent. That buyer is actively seeking out healthy, nutritious choices for themselves and their children – that’s the number one motivator for this group when choosing food, followed by the product being organic.

Concerns about the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on an individual’s health and the health of that individual’s children, along with the desire to avoid highly processed  foods and artificial ingredients for the family were also top reasons to buy organic.

Baby food ranked as the top category for which respondents said that buying organic is extremely important, surpassing the fruits and vegetables category for the first time in the history of the survey. Food targeted to kids was also among the categories most important for buying organic.

And the parenting kids receive also shapes their buying habits as adults. Heavy buyers of organic – whether Millennials with or without children — are much more likely to have been raised eating organic foods and being taught to make organic choices. Today’s organic buyers with children are already passing their organic habits on to the next generation, and so will the Millennial parents-to-be.

Online and Meal Kits

Today’s organic buyers are younger, and digital technology is an integral part of their daily lives.

More Millennials shop for groceries online than older parents (40 percent vs. 30 percent). Online grocery shopping is still in its early stages, but the survey revealed that attitudes regarding online grocery shopping point to a bright future for organic. Twenty percent of those surveyed said they like the quality of organic produce purchased online, 17 percent said online grocery shopping is a convenient and easy way to shop organic, and 10 percent reported an increase in organic purchases because of online shopping. This all suggests that online shopping has strong potential for increasing organic consumption among U.S. families.

Millennial parents use digital sources of information to learn about new products – online product reviews, blog posts and mobile apps — more frequently than older parents who prefer traditional information sources like commercials, coupons, and recommendations from friends. The Millennial device of choice is the smartphone versus other mobile or desktop computer devices.

As with online grocery shopping, Millennial parents are much more likely to purchase or use online meal kits than older parents (37 percent versus 27 percent). And while all groups liked the idea of getting meal kits as a gift, the Millinnial without kids was the most enthusiastic about that concept.

“Americans are eating more organic than ever before. Organic sales reached nearly $50 billion last year, driven in large part by the Millennial consumer,” said Batcha. “Millennials having children over the next 10 – 15 years are projected to be a generation of highly engaged organic consumers. Our continually expanding knowledge about Millennials will help us inform this important generation of consumers and give these future parents the necessary tools to enable them to make the best choices for their families.”

The Organic Trade Association has partnered with KIWI Magazine to conduct surveys of the organic buying patterns of households since 2009. The study reflects responses of more than 1,800 households throughout the country consisting of individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 years old. Responses were collected online between May 22, 2017, and June 7, 2017.

The full study is available for purchase at OTA.com. A significant discount is available for Organic Trade Association members purchasing the study. For more information, contact Angela Jagiello.

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