This month, Happy Family Organics launched exclusively into Whole Foods its new Happy Baby Regenerative & Organic Pouches, which are made with ingredients that are “farmed for our future,” by farmers who follow regenerative agriculture practices, such as reduced tillage, the use of cover crops, compost and livestock integration as well as other organic techniques.
While the concept of regenerative farming may be new or foreign to most mainstream consumers, Happy Family Organics Director of Sustainability Katie Clark explained to FoodNavigator-USA that investing in these practices as a brand directly speaks to modern parents’ top concerns – creating an emotional touchpoint that can build brand loyalty while also rebuilding soil.
“We know from research that a planet in peril is keeping parents up at night in terms of the environment and leaving a lasting legacy for their children. This idea of launching a product line that celebrates and promotes regenerative and organic farming practices that can help tackle climate change is something that we as a brand want to deliver to parents and educate them around the opportunity of this type of farming practice,” Clark said.
She added that the launch – and extension beyond organic into regenerative – also supports Happy Family Organics’ mission to change the trajectory of children’s health through nutrition because “as a company we know that the health of our children is heavily dependent on the health of our planet. So, any initiative that is going to have a positive impact on the health of our planet is something we are going to be interested in pursuing at Happy Family Organics.”
Engaging with consumers around regenerative agriculture
While most consumers understand organic farming the concept of regenerative farming is new for many people, which means Happy Family Organics will need to do some heavy lifting for shoppers to understand the full value of its new product line, acknowledged Clark.
She explained that the brand is tackling consumer education in three ways.
“The first is in the way we are positioning the product. We know that regenerative is a term that is going to be new to a lot of moms and dads and kids. And so, we’ve included the tagline, ‘Farmed for Our Future’ on our packaging to kind of indicate that the ingredients inside of the pouch were carefully farmed using practices that are spearheading this movement towards a happier and healthier future for our children and the planet,” she said.
In addition, the brand uses “kid-friendly illustrations” on a side panel of the box of a four-pack to show how regenerative agriculture practices help reverse climate change through carbon sequestration in the soil and specific farming practices. It also includes a story of one of the farmers who the brand works with to grow the ingredients in the product line.
“The last piece of that is we have a regenerative hub on our website where we’ll have more background and education about regenerative farming,” including a “really adorable” animated video that is “easily digestible for parents and their kids,” Clark said.
Working with farmers to adopt regenerative techniques
Also on the company’s website in the regenerative hub is information for farmers about its training program to help expand the use of regenerative techniques.
“We are working with farmers that are already in our supply chain as well as identifying new farmers that are not currently Happy Family suppliers to bring them into our farming system. And we are doing that with a two-pronged approach,” Clark said.
The first is by offering a regenerative agriculture farmer training program that helps farmers assess their baseline and then understand how their current practices are positively or negatively impacting their farm. From there, the brand works with those farmers to create an action plan to adopt regenerative practices.
“In addition, this year we’re expanding our regenerative agriculture farmer training program to include a regenerative farmer fund in which there is $40,000 available to provide financial support to farmers within our supply chain who want to implement agriculture practices that foster these ecosystem services and soil health,” Clark added.
Ensure high quality products that deliver on a promise
While Happy Family works to expand the adoption of regenerative farming techniques, it also has set a high bar to ensure that its products that claim to support these techniques actually do.
“Our Regenerative & Organic product line is Rodale Institute Approved, which is essentially a seal of approval on our products that they have been grown or produced in a way that supports healthy soil, healthy people and a healthy planet,” Clark said.
In addition, she said, the brand is closely tracking standards development in regenerative agriculture – which are still new and in a state of flux – by staying in close contact with the developing bodies.
The farmers that work with the brand also must complete a self-assessment based on the current iterations of both the Regenerative and Organic Certification that is being developed by the Regenerative Organic Alliance and the Soil Carbon Index, Clark said.
“We’re using that as a baseline to ensure that our farmers are tracking towards the same indicators and thinking about regenerative in the same way that the industry is thinking about regenerative,” she added.