After several years of anticipation, the Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) standard recently made its official public debut, and influential brands are supporting it in a significant way.
Just the other week, the Patagonia Provisions marketplace, which sells both ROC-certified products and products that have similar standards, officially launched.
And now we have another high profile leader in the organic space — Nature’s Path — who, today on Earth Day, is introducing the first-ever, ROC-certified oat product.
Started by Patagonia, Dr. Bronner’s and Rodale Institute, ROC aims to raise the bar for what organic represents and is one of the most significant developments in the history of organic in the U.S.
ROC uses the USDA organic certification as a baseline and then mandates additional requirements that address soil health, animal welfare and social fairness. The standard prohibits hydroponics and farms that do not treat animals humanely (“organic factory farms”), two of the most controversial areas in organic.
For Nature’s Path, who has been at the forefront of the organic movement for decades and was a significant backer of the Non-GMO Project, various GMO-labeling coalitions and other industry initiatives, getting involved in ROC was an easy decision.
“We believe that regenerative organic agriculture can help save the world,” said Arjan Stephens, General Manager and whose family started and runs Nature’s Path.
For this new regenerative standard, Nature’s Path opted to utilize its Legend Organic Farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, which is owned by Arran and Ratana Stephens, the two founders of the company. Legend recently became the largest ROC-certified farm in the world and also received the certification’s Silver level designation.
Even for an extremely experienced operator such as Nature’s Path, achieving ROC status did not come without its challenges, both technical and administrative. Yet, ROC was purposely designed to set the bar very high, making it difficult to obtain.
As such, this is precisely why ROC is poised to become the new gold standard in organic, displacing the USDA organic seal.
And whatever obstacles the certification may present, brands will be rewarded in the marketplace because consumers will come to view ROC products as the “best of the best” in organic. It is a game-changing differentiator.
Given that the ROC supply chain is still at a very nascent stage, the opportunity for Nature’s Path to create a multi-ingredient product was simply not feasible at this point. So, the instant oatmeal — made with nothing more than oats — was the most practical and logical choice.
However, if this limited edition product is well-received, Nature’s Path said that it would look to roll out the ROC program with a multi-ingredient product, possibly a flavored oat cereal or one with nuts, seeds or berries.
Even if Nature’s Path does eventually introduce numerous ROC products, the underlying philosophical approach of the organization will not change.
“As a company, we are looking to have the highest level of integrity in organic and will not be turning our back on it. However, the USDA’s National Organic Program is allowing practices that are not in alignment with companies that adhere to the highest levels of organic. With ROC products, consumers will now have the opportunity to see the brands that follow the true intent and spirit of the organic standard,” said Dag Falck, Organic Program Manager at Nature’s Path.
While supplies last, Nature’s Path regenerative organic instant oatmeal is now available at retailers nationwide, on the company’s website and in the Patagonia Provisions marketplace (beginning May 7th).
Happy Earth Day 2020!
Max Goldberg, Founder
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* These robots are weeding organic farms.
* In Venice, rowing champions are delivering organic food to the elderly amidst the lockdown.
* Dr. Bronner’s has published its 6th annual corporate social responsibility All-One Report called “Heal Earth! Heal Soul!”
* A new report reveals long-term, ongoing human and labor rights violations — including toxic chemical exposure, wage theft and aggressive union-busting — on Fyffes’ melon plantations in Honduras. These melons are sold at places such as Kroger, Publix, Albertsons, Walmart and Safeway.
* Curated by organic clothing and textile pioneer Marci Zaroff, her ECOfashion Corp and its new sustainable lifestyle brand YES AND will host a Digital Earth Day Sustainability Summit today at 5:30pm EST.
* Tomorrow at noon EST, the Richman Law Group and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will be hosting the inaugural virtual Food Systems Summit.
* The virtual Women Leading Regeneration Summit will take place on April 28-29.
* The monarch butterfly population is plummeting — it stood in the millions in the 1980s and now is at about 30,000.