SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

News > Manufacturers

Read more breaking news

 

 
VIDEO dispatches from Expo West 2017

EPIC Provisions co-founder: 'Regenerative agriculture is the next big movement in food'

1 comment

By Elaine Watson+

15-Mar-2017
Last updated on 15-Mar-2017 at 18:18 GMT2017-03-15T18:18:16Z

Regenerative agriculture next food trend, says EPIC at Expo West

Meat and dairy often get a bad rap on the sustainability front, but not all animal production systems have the same impact on the planet, says EPIC Provisions co-founder Taylor Collins, who reckons that “the next big movement in food is coming in the form of regenerative agriculture,” which he claims is “creating a net positive return on the environment.”  

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Natural Products Expo West Show in Anaheim, CA, Collins said that rather than feeding animals grains (which generate their own carbon footprint and take up agricultural land), grazing ruminant animals (eg. cows, bison, sheep etc) eat grass, and fertilize the soil, while holistic farming practices support wildlife biodiversity, sequester carbon in the soil, hold ground water and build topsoil.

He added: “The documented research that gives meat and dairy a bad rap is based on conventional, commodity, high intensity industrialized agriculture… but the conversation really needs to focus on is there another way to do it?

“Large ruminant animals have co-evolved with land for millions of years. These big herds that once existed in nature… their hooves aerate the soil, and allow water to penetrate the earth. They are also fantastic fertilizers, they urinate and defecate and stamp their manure into the soil and build healthy microbiology, and then grasslands are some of the most powerful systems for sequestering carbon [the grass sucks carbon dioxide out of the air, and takes water from the soil to create carbohydrates/sugar and oxygen is released back into the atmosphere]."

Is it scalable?

But can you feed the world with grass-fed livestock?

“It can absolutely be scaled," claimed Collins. "This regenerative agriculture movement is so new, and consumers don’t really understand it yet… the amount of regenerative, holistically-managed meat that is produced in this country right now is a number of small producers so the opportunity to optimize that and scale that is enormous.

“We’re not optimizing our land. A large percentage of our land can’t be farmed, it can’t be used to grow crops so how do we use that to produce food? In certain areas animals are the only option.”

Cultured meat: Greener, cleaner, kinder?

Asked whether cultured meat might not be greener, cleaner and kinder than raising animals for meat, however humanely, he said: “We need animals to regenerate and heal the soil and be part of the ecosystem and have grasslands that are healthy and flourishing… I think it is going in the wrong direction for the natural foods industry.”

(Want an alternative perspective on 'clean meat'? Click HERE )

Do consumers get regenerative agriculture?

Speaking during an education session on regenerative agriculture at the show on Saturday March 11, Chris Kerston from The Savory Institute (which promotes holistic farming practices) said that he anticipated that organic, 100% grass-fed, and regenerative agriculture label claims would co-exist in the marketplace, as they all meant slightly different things.

For example, organic beef can come from cows fed soy and corn (rather than grass) and does not necessarily mean animals have the freedom to roam as extensively as 100% grass-fed animals.

Meanwhile, 100% grass-feeding in and of itself does not necessarily deliver the benefits to the soil that regenerative agriculture delivers if grazing isn't carefully managed such that the grass has time to recover, he said. 

Is it time for a regenerative agriculture seal?

While it is a complex subject, regenerative agriculture is in large part about enriching the soil and leaving it better than you found it, as well as caring for animals and letting them behave in a more instinctive way, said Kerston.

"We are working on a consumer-facing seal so that a consumer can say I know with empirical data that this product has made the land better. We'd like that to be tested in stores by the end of the year and rolled out in 2018."

Mindful meat

Collins, who sat on the panel with Kerston during the session, added: "There's nothing wrong with a plant-based diet but I feel that when people talk about Meatless Mondays and being conscious consumers, it's like opting out, rather than getting in there and trying to change the [animal farming] system for the better [by choosing meat farmed using regenerative practices]. It's about mindful meat." 

Find out more about regenerative agriculture at The Savory Institute.

EPIC sales have doubled since the brand was acquired by General Mills

EPIC Provisions - which was founded by Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest in early 2013 - launched with meat bars, but has gone on to expand into multiple product categories from EPIC bites, bits, Hunt & Harvest mix, animal oils and bone broth to pork rinds, and continues to lure new consumers to a category (premium meat snacks) that has rapidly gone from lukewarm to red hot.

Austin, Texas-based EPIC - which was acquired by General Mills in early 2016 - has doubled its revenues in the past 12 months and is on course to double again in the next 12 months, said Annie's president John Foraker (EPIC is part of the Berkeley-based Annie’s business, which was itself acquired by General Mills in 2014).

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

getting in touch with co founders of epic

raise all natural beef and would like to supply wholesome beef to the epic company.

Report abuse

Posted by jw
16 March 2017 | 22h342017-03-16T22:34:07Z

Related products

Baldor Specialty Food's efforts to cut food waste are adding money

Baldor Specialty Foods' efforts to cut food waste are adding money

As the issue of food waste rises in prominence in the US, industry players...

Organic industry asks for funds to expand production, oversight

Organic industry asks legislators for funds to expand domestic production & increase oversight

More than a hundred representatives for the organic industry descended on Capitol Hill in...

Standardized language for expiration dates will help reduce food waste

Standardized language for expiration dates should help reduce food waste, according to GMA

According to the nonprofit Feeding America, 126 billion pounds of food is wasted each...

Vox Pop: In sports nutrition, 'usually just protein'

Vox Pop: 'Protein, and that's pretty much it actually'

Sports nutrition is a booming industry, with Euromonitor estimating a value of $7.4bn in...

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industry

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into the competitive food and beverage industry

Launching a food business takes more than secret family recipe – it also takes...

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Marcia Pires

polymer science researcher , Braskem

How to shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice

Could the biotech disclosure law help shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice?

In many ways, the conversation about GMOs has been a debate about good versus...

SmartLabel helps brands meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

SmartLabel gains traction as a tool for brands to meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

While SmartLabel is still in its relative infancy, manufacturers are flocking to the technology...

Potential for Nutrition Facts label delay should not slow compliance

The potential of a delay to Nutrition Facts label changes should not slow compliance efforts

Assuming FDA does not delay the deadline for the new Nutrition Fact label as...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: grain-free vs ancient grain trends

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Gluten free movement spawns divergent grain-free vs ancient grain trends

As the tenacious gluten-free trend continues to grow and mature into a market behemoth...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Agency enforcement and litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: FDA & FTC move forward with enforcement even with some regulations in limbo

New regulations and draft guidances may be on hold at many federal agencies until...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast create challenges, opportunities for CPGs

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day, but...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers buy them

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers are buying them is evolving

US consumers are snacking more than ever, according to IRI data, but an analyst...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of war on sugar

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of the war on sugar

Despite significant headwinds generated by the escalating war on sugar and increasing consumer preferences...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce with omnichannel marketing

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce sales with an omnichannel marketing approach

Sales of food and beverage online may be lagging significantly behind those of other...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa steal kale's top superfood spot?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa knock kale out of the top superfood spot?

For years kale has reigned supreme as the go-to superfood for many Americans thanks...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Fair Trade certification tackles coconut supply

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Could Fair Trade certification help avoid a coconut shortage?

Ever since coconut water burst on to the US market several years ago, Americans...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

The number of class action cases filed against food and beverage companies continues to...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Threats to bees threaten whole food industry

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Industry stakeholders seek to take the sting out of threats to bees’ health

Spring has finally sprung, which means birds are chirping, crops are blooming and bees...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...

Live Supplier Webinars

Food Innovation editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
Optimizing California Almonds for Plant-Forward Formulations
Almond Board of California

On demand Supplier Webinars

FoodNavigator-USA Flavor Trends editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
FoodNavigator-USA Clean Label editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
All supplier webinars

Promotional Features

Content Provided by Fonterra

Way forward with whey protein