Ensuring Sustainability with Organic Food Production

  • Gaurav Manchanda, Founder & Managing Director, The Organic World

Over the last couple of years, the growth in demand for organic foods in India is driving a huge shift in terms of awareness, pricing, transparency, and expectations among retail consumers. With consumers becoming more conscious of the products they buy, brands and grocers must now align every stage of the value chain with this discerning market as well as government regulations. Whether it is the introduction of standardised certifications, such as Jaivik Bharat, or the expansion of ‘organic only’ retail chains, the shift represents more than just jumping on the bandwagon of a trend – it foreshadows what the food retail industry as a whole will face shortly.

As organic food has progressed from a trend to a necessity and a way of life for an increasing number of Indian families, there will be greater demand for affordable organic foods. This can and should be addressed by increasing the availability of locally grown, seasonal organic foods. Reduced logistics and cold-storage costs can help alleviate the long-standing affordability issue of organic food. The growing preference for reasonably priced, authentically sourced, and healthy foods across categories, necessitates that all business players learn from the organic food retail industry. 

Organic farming methods do not degrade the soil and use only sustainable farming methods. Organic and natural brands often strive hard to use sustainable packaging materials and use high-quality inputs – all small but key steps that work towards ensuring a sustainable future. 

Bottlenecks & Solutions

The supply of organic food and beverage products is dependent on organic farming, a time-intensive process that faces challenges such as higher costs, insufficient availability of suitable land and pest attacks. Therefore, organic farming practices are not as common. The lack of systematic and organised  food production is the major concern/challenge in sustainable organic food production. A more systematic and automated approach will help in the smooth functioning of food production. Also, the lack of fully functioning technology-based automation is a glitch in the system. It would be a game-changer, provided the process is tracked and regulated appropriately. 

The Organic World is India’s largest organic and natural groceries retailer as well as the country’s leading Responsible Retailer. We are a full-basket grocer, offering the widest range of organic, natural, chemical, and preservative-free products under one roof with over 2000+ products across a bouquet of trusted brands. Our goal is to enable and empower better choices across the daily and monthly consumption basket for a growing number of Indian families. 

At The Organic World, we prioritise end-to-end traceability and transparency as our key decision drivers for the Indian consumer. The farm-to-fork model has enormous potential to change the game in terms of ensuring safe, healthy, and sustainable food for all Indians. Food brands will need to invest in integrated technology-based operations sooner, to provide the transparency consumers want and regulatory bodies demand in terms of sourcing, processes, and ingredients. Blockchain will play an important role in the development of robust traceability solutions.

The ever-changing consumer preference for clean living and healthy eating will shape the retail environment of today and the future. To achieve consistent growth, Responsible Retailers must be aware of this need and work towards adopting a product-first mindset.

One of the highlights of this year’s Union Budget was the government taking the decision to promote chemical-free natural farming. While there have been several subsidy schemes and programmes to offer benefits and  Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to organic farmers, this is something we hope will continue to get more and more farmers into the organic farming ambit. 

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