Progress on organic ingredients through teamwork and research

Progress on organic ingredients through teamwork and research

Organic is here to stay as a major player in the mainstream food industry. With the organic food earning $39 billion in 2014 and seeing double-digit growth since 1997, and with 51 percent of consumers buying some organic foods, this is a trend that will continue to be a source of food for the average consumer. As developers of innovation for the food industry, we all need to look for ways to ensure consumers get the options they desire. 

By its very nature, organic food must meet additional requirements related to the growth of the food or food ingredients and formulation of products to ensure consumers are getting what they expect. The National Organic Standards Board is the glue that holds the organic industry together by issuing guidelines and standards, and ensuring that standards are met. 

Engredea appearance:
NOSB Update: Spotlight on Sunset Provisions
Wednesday, March 9
1 - 2 p.m.
Marriott, Grand Ballroom G/H

Last fall, NOSB held its "Sunset Review" of non-organic ingredients allowed to be used in organic production. One of these ingredients was celery powder. The key factor to be aware of with celery powder is the functional aspect of this ingredient in organic processed meats, like ham, bacon, etc. It is not simply celery powder. Today, there is not an organic version that meets the required functionality for processed meats. NOSB recognized this limitation and, in an attempt to ensure the expectations of the consumers are met, has aggressively pushed for an organic version by 2022.

Now, why would an innovation liaison be pulled into this NOSB expectation? The answer is because it is complicated (aka, a researcher’s dream). This simple ingredient of celery powder must meet numerous criteria--proper crop growing conditions, proper processing and, lastly, proper functionality in the processed meat system. Teamwork between the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Research Extension Initiative, combined with stakeholder innovation (growers, suppliers, meat processors and organic agencies) will be required. Innovation and research must take center stage and be supported by the principles of NOSB, including financial support for research through OREI.

This is an exciting project and demonstrates the capability for teamwork and research to accomplish a goal. This research is currently being defined and will be submitted to OREI for funding. I am excited to be part of a project that demonstrates with cross-functional teamwork with focused goals. We can accomplish the goals of the consumer. As we all know, it is all about the consumer! An innovator’s dream! 

Let the fun begin!

Beth Jones is the vice president of business development, fermented ingredients, for Kerry Ingredients & Flavours. She will join National Organic Standards Board member Tracy Favre; General Mills organic ambassador Katrina Heinze; and OTA's senior director, regulatory and technical affairs, Gwendolyn Wyard, on an Engredea panel about the most recent National Organic Standards Board meeting.

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