Today’s consumers are increasingly concerned with how their food is sourced. They want assurance that the manufacturing supply chain produces food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same. Sourcing ingredients from suppliers with sustainable agricultural practices is one way bakers can tell a sustainability story, and it’s one a growing number of consumers wants to hear.

Every effort counts. And when dealing with specialty ingredients from far-away regions, it is difficult, especially for smaller bakers, to do much more than speak with their dollar.

With domestically produced ingredients, there is a lot of pressure from food manufacturers that their suppliers work with farmers who make their best effort into putting sustainable agriculture practices into action. Land O’Lakes Sustain, a business unit of Land O’Lakes Inc., advances stewardship efforts throughout the food system with scale, from farmers to ingredient suppliers to retailers and partners such as bakers.

“It’s a major step forward in supporting food system sustainability that starts on the farm,” said Matt Carstens, senior vice-president of Land O’Lakes Sustain.

WheatThe company plans to roll out an interactive digital platform designed to help farmers advance their stewardship goals and return on investment in real time, acre-by-acre and help food companies measure sustainability progress. The platform will enable farmers and food companies to establish and report clear metrics, create customized strategies that meet farmers where they are in their sustainability journey.

One of the biggest challenges in understanding and enhancing food chains is the lack of comprehensive tools that quantify economic and environmental benefits for farmers to identify farm management options. The Land O’Lakes platform will use soil, weather, economic and farm management data to create customized reports showcasing the potential impacts of various practices.

Healthy Food Ingredients (HFI), is launching its own sustainability program. Touting “good for business, good for people and good for the land,” HFI’s program draws on its belief in stewardship to accomplish its vision of nourishment through healthy ingredients. Laura Grinde, HFI’s sustainability coordinator, explained “good for business” includes support of and annual reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

HFI has been working with farmers to transition farm acres to organic certification. The company has contracted more than 7,000 acres over the past four years for transition to organic. HFI also has been supportive of the regenerative agriculture movement in its commitment to creating synergies between its growers and customers to help promote and achieve the goals consumers are passionate about.

Combined efforts across the industry will help bakers share the stories of sustainability being told all over the world. And those are stories worth telling.

This article is an excerpt from the December 2018 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on sustainable sourcing, click here.