Colorful organic fruits and vegetables

The Power – and Problems – of Organic Shows in Survey

Denis Storey
May 1, 2020

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For years, people treated the organic food craze like a fad that consumers would probably grow out of. Besides, the higher costs would always outweigh any potential benefits. 

It’s safe to say organic food is here to stay – at least in the United States. Last year, organic food and non-food products reached a record-high $55.1 billion in sales, a 5% jump over 2018, according to the Organic Trade Association. Food sales still dominate, making up nearly 91% of sales. Nationwide, according to the association, “More than 90% of respondents indicated that in their current food shopping, organic is more important than ever.”

That popularity appears in TraceGains’ organic survey – more than 86% of the companies who participated held an organic certification. And these aren’t late bandwagon jumpers, either. The plurality of those surveyed – nearly 40% – have been certified for more than a decade.

Getting Certified – and Staying That Way

Obtaining and keeping organic certification is no small task. The most significant obstacles to securing certification, according to our survey, include: 

  • Creating and maintaining proper documentation.

  • Phasing out old processes and procedures.

  • Executive buy-in and/or resource constraints.

  • Organic Foods Production Act regulations.

On-site inspections

More than 58% of our survey respondents insisted that getting a handle on proper documentation was their No. 1 concern about earning their organic certification.

Getting an organic certification, however, is only half the battle. Holding onto that certification is a never-ending struggle. And the hardest one to fight, according to our survey respondents, is finding organic suppliers that meet regulatory standards. Nearly 60% of those surveyed pointed to this as the single hardest part about staying certified.

Other top obstacles include:

  • Finding organic suppliers that offer appropriate volume.

  • Maintaining proper documentation.

  • Finding organic suppliers – domestic vs. imported.

  • Manual processes that take time and resources.

  • Staying current with mandated regulations.

It’s clear that, aside from the persistent problem of documentation management, finding suitable – not to mention capable – supplier partners remains a definite stumbling block for manufacturers looking to make their way in an already crowded organic market.

TraceGains Network is the easiest way to connect with those organic suppliers – and you don’t even have to swipe right. There are already nearly 30,000 supplier locations on the network – and more are joining every day.

Getting Lost on the Paper Trail

When it comes to document management, most participants keep their paperwork on a shared internal drive or some combination of a shared drive – whether it’s on a network drive or USB – and three-ring binders.

There are online solutions; however, that can simplify document management, streamline the workflow, and even enable organic producers to shorten the time-to-market on new product development. TraceGains offers several solutions.

Several survey participants also explained that other compliance tools, such as checklists, could make their lives easier.

“A checklist of steps to follow,” one respondent wrote, “from initial development through submission, would be a valuable tool to share across company channels.”

Another wrote, “Checklist for documenting imported ingredients handled by uncertified handlers (distributors),” would be helpful.

Finally, we’d love your input. Our information is only as robust as your participation. Follow us on social media or sign up for our monthly newsletter to find out about our next project before your competitor.