General Mills Partners with Organic Valley to Help Conventional Dairy Farms Transition to Certified Organic

General Mills has transformed its portfolio in recent years and is now the No. 3 maker of natural and organic foods with nine brands including Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, LARABAR, Libert, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking, Annie’s and EPIC Provisions.

The strategic alignment with Organic Valley will build General Mills’ relationships with the organic farmers who will be supporting its yogurt operating unit in the U.S., which includes brands like Yoplait, Annie’s, Libert and Mountain High.

Earlier this year General Mills introduced the Annie’s brand to the U.S. yogurt category with a new line of certified organic whole milk yogurt. In addition, the company is transitioning its Libert yogurt brand in the U.S. to USDA certified organic, which will roll out nationwide this summer.

While demand for organic food is increasing in the U.S., supply has not been able to keep up. In the U.S., acreage devoted to organic agriculture is about one percent of total cropland, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. General Mills has made sizeable investments to meet growing consumer interest in natural and organic foods, which is expected to drive double-digit industry sales growth over the next five years.

Since 2009, General Mills has increased the organic acreage it supports by 120 percent and is now among the top five organic ingredient purchasers – and the second largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables – in the North American packaged food sector.

In addition, General Mills will launch the Organic & Regenerative Agriculture Transition Council, which will bring together sustainable agricultural leaders, farmers and industry stakeholders with the mission of advancing organic and regenerative agriculture practices. The first project will focus on dairy.

General Mills has long been committed to dairy sustainability initiatives and has been focused on advancing the sustainability of its supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and promote better animal welfare.

In 2013, as part of the company’s sustainable sourcing commitment, General Mills said that by the year 2020, 100 percent of its U.S. directly sourced fluid milk would be sourced from producing regions that demonstrate continuous improvement as measured by the Dairy Sustainability Framework in the U.S. and other comparative environmental metrics globally.

SOURCE General Mills