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Health Benefits and Lifestyle

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Thinking of “organic”, many people have a picture of healthy, grazing cows in their minds. Only a few people think of mass production.

Dean Food’s Horizon brand is being accused of riding the organic bandwagon but acting like a mass-producing factory. The Organic Consumers Association has organized a boycott of Horizon, because it feels the company is threatening to put small farms out of business since they are not able to compete, reports the Motley Fool. It states what Horizon calls organic is being just a typical factory-farm with cows having organic food and no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic is more than just the feed – it is lifestyle and ethic. Therefore, many small farms and organic-farming advocates have been appealing to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to tighten the standards for food labelled as organic. The USDA is planning to introduce a requirement that organic cows have to be given at least 120 days of access to pasture per year as a response.

Is the organic trend becoming a victim of its own success? Whole Foods Market with its emphasis on healthy and natural food has helped to push organics into the mainstream and to make consumers more critical about the quality of food. This is the positive point – but this also led to a higher demand for organic products, which could lead to a shortage of supply. Horizon as the largest producer of organic dairy states that it has farms of all sizes supplying to give the customers what they want, which also includes a 4,000 cow farm.

This causes a dilemma for the customers, posing the question what they want to support. Concerning the ability to supply large quantities of organic produce, members of Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic family farms, are ready to say that they already meet the grazing requirements considered by the USDA. But is that enough?

Whole Foods thinks so, redoubling its effort to support small, local, organic family farmers. A smart decision, since their typical customer is socially and environmentally conscious, supporting the sustainable way of life of a small-scale farmer. Organic to this customer is more than just organic feed of the cattle, it is lifestyle.

For customers interested in the health benefits of organics rather than seeing it as a lifestyle, supermarkets like Wal-Mart are meeting the demand. And Horizon can take care of the growing need for supply for these customers.

The enormous growth in popularity of organic foods leaves only a few alternatives – different companies can serve different needs. Consumers will know the difference and where to find what they want. Family farms can rely on the support of Whole Food. Investors will win in any case, thanks to the popularity of organics.


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