“What that says to me is that people are really caring a lot about it … but there is more education that needs to be done,” Danny Houghton, founding partner and chief customer officer of One Degree, told BakeryandSnacks.
The Canadian company – which produces 'better-for-you' breakfast cereals, granolas, flour and seeds – was founded on the belief consumers deserve 100% transparency in everything they eat, advocating a deep respect for sustainable farming and clean, nourishing foods. One Degree shares its Abbotsford plant with sister company Silver Hills Bakery, which makes vegan and organic breads from sprouted whole grains.
On the rise
“There’s nothing at a federal level that actually bans the use of [glyphosate], although some US states have tried to restrict its use,” said Houghton, who added the United States Environmental Protection Agency does not consider it to be carcinogenic, a stance that has allowed the standard for glyphosate tolerance to increase by 300% since 1995 in the country.
“In Canada, eight of 10 of our provinces have some form of restriction on the use of pesticides that includes glyphosate. Vancouver, for example [One Degree’s home base], has banned the private and public use of glyphosate, aside from some specific weed instances.”
A survey undertaken by the family-run company found that nearly 75% of North Americans said they were trying to limit pesticide exposure from food, however, only 25% were aware of what glyphosate is. Once made aware of it, 93% of them then expressed concern of its presence in their breakfast oats.
The same percentage believed food companies should disclose the use of glyphosate during production.
“By sharing a product’s story … and using transparency as a tool to convey the value that organic farmers put into the crops … is a very compelling case [for consumers] to choose not only our products but also a healthy lifestyle,” said Houghton. “We find our customers really resonate with that concept of transparency. I think it was Ronald Reagan who said way back in the day, ‘trust but verify’ and that’s what we want to do at One Degree.”
The new non-GMO
While relatively new, seal programmes like BioChecked and Detox Project reflect what consumers want. Recent SPINS data show the Glyphosate Residue Free certification market has reached $204m, an increase of 58.2% year on year, perhaps indicating the next big labelling demand akin to what Non-GMO verified experienced a decade ago.
One Degree works with nearly three dozen farmers, suppliers and producers across 11 countries to maintain its standards of using only organic, glyphosate-free, non-GMO and plant-based ingredients. It has also adopted QR code technology that allows the consumer to trace every product and meet the farmers and producers behind the ingredients; an assurance that is obviously paying off for One Degree, which recently reported a 21% increase in dollar volume across its product range.
BakeryandSnacks chats to Houghton, who asks just how much glyphosate should legally be allowed in our breakfast oats before consumers say enough?