It takes three years to transition acres from conventional production to organic. During that time, farmers must follow costly organic regulations, but receive none of the premium benefit. Bunge is looking to change that for corn growers. The organic food retail market sits at $2 billion, according to Nielsen research, and it has grown 10% each of the past three years. This growth represents substantial opportunities for farmers, but the transition period from conventional to organic is a roadblock for some. However, Nielsen reports Certified Transitional product sales have grown five-fold during the past year compared with the year prior. “The Certified Transitional market gives farmers an opportunity to sell this corn at a premium to conventional during their shift to certified organic, incentivizing them to make the move into organic farming,” says Gregg Christensen, vice president of sales at Bunge Milling.
Bunge isn’t the first company to take advantage of Certified Transitional. Kashi, for example, was the first to market a product as Certified Transitional; the company’s Dark Cocoa Karma uses wheat from transitional farms. Kashi also offers transitional ingredients in its Chewy Nut Butter Bars. ADM was one of the company’s key partnerships in this venture. According to Bunge, their new program will connect corn farmers specifically with food manufacturers that will pay a premium for these transitional products. Bunge is actively involved in sourcing organic products, including corn, corn masa, rice and soybean oil. The company also uses Non-GMO project verified corn, stone ground ancient grains, rice, sunflower, canola and soybean oils. Bunge says it will continue to provide on-trend ingredients consumers demand. “Bunge is uniquely positioned to provide a reliable supply of Certified Transitional corn ingredients to compliment the rest of our USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified grains and oils portfolio,” says Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing at Bunge.