We were recently asked by the National Provisioner to provide comments for an article on the Natural & Organic meat category and wanted to share our responses in full as they capture why this category has been at the heart of our business from the start, not just due to changing consumer demand.
Were natural and organic products important in the founding of American Farmers Network?
A focus on bringing natural and organic products to consumers is literally the core of our mission! The reason American Farmers Network started came from a very personal challenge my family faced. My mother was suffering from ailments ranging from high cholesterol to high blood pressure and she was on so many medications. She ended up working with a doctor who focused on holistic medicine and advised her to revert to an all natural and organic diet. In less than a year she had dropped every medication she was on and had no symptoms. She was cured simply through a diet of good, nutritious food. We wanted to get more people in America eating healthier and better foods, and found grass-fed beef to be an important and growing segment we could invest in.
What future growth do you see for the natural and organic categories?
For the past 13 years grass-fed beef has been the fastest growing category in the entire meat business. Organic beef has grown 20-27% a year for the past 13 years as well. The consumer is really driving this change as they become more educated about how the way an animal, or plant, is raised has an effect on the nutritional value for themselves and their family. Organic options are expected in all categories at the grocery store and take up more and more shelf space, causing the conventional categories to stay flat or decline.
For me personally this is way bigger than business. Whether we make money or not we are trying to do this for the right reasons. Adopting a natural and organic diet cured my mom 17 years ago and we want other people to see that same impact of choosing better.
Why should consumers opt for natural and/or organic products?
With grass-fed beef in particular, when sourced from the right place, you are choosing a product that is healthier, cleaner, better for the environment, better for the soil, better for the animal and better for the consumers. All around it’s a win-win-win for everyone.
A lot of people think turning to natural or organic products means sacrificing flavor and missing out on things they grew up loving to eat. With grass-fed beef you still get to eat something you know and love, but know that it is better, cleaner and healthier.