While the topic of regenerative agriculture is not yet an idea with broad consumer awareness, it appears that the idea is compelling, and demand among consumers could be built. Given the shifts in consumer values, there is an opportunity for brands to connect with and engage consumer values to build trust and differentiate themselves.
For now it appears that farmers need the most motivation to transition their methods. They need to see proof that there is marketplace demand for regeneratively grown products.
The good news is that this makes business sense for farmers. A survey New Hope Network conducted with support from Kiss The Ground and Penton Agriculture revealed what farmers identify as their biggest hurdles in running a successful business: cost of inputs, weather, and animal and crop health. Regenerative practices can help solve these problems. While farmers are a skeptical group, demonstration of demand and market assurances motivate them.
The top solutions farmers need to see in the market to consider making a shift to regenerative agriculture include: demonstrated profitability, yields, reduced costs, demonstrated market demand and multiyear contracts to support their transition.
We can motivate farmers to engage, but natural products brands are going to need to lead if we are going to do this at scale.
New Hope Network research confirms consumers are motivated and are ready to support responsible business practices. Already they are beginning to demand transparent and responsible business practices. For food manufacturers, there is an opportunity to rebuild consumer trust, and strengthen and differentiate their brands while working to reverse climate change.
The good news is that the market is already working to build demand. Innovators in the natural and organic products industry are creating products and building brands based upon the promise of regenerative agriculture.
And in our survey we found that much more, once aware, express interest in doing so. Today:
- 65 percent of natural products manufacturers express interest in sourcing regenerative agriculture ingredients for their products.
- 82 percent believe that it will help them demonstrate their passion for sustainability.
- 37 percent believe it will help differentiate their brands.
- 35 percent believe it will help them expand their customer base.
Consumer demand can be built and farmers can be motivated to transition. What we need now is leadership from our businesses and brands to get the system started.