Regenerative agriculture protects planet, drives profits in industry

Get the rundown on regenerative agriculture, including what it is and how it’s showing up in food and beverage CPG brands.

Rachel French, Contributing writer

April 23, 2024

3 Min Read
sustainable agriculture business

At a Glance

  • Regenerative agriculture is gaining popularity with consumers and food brands.
  • Regenerative agriculture focuses on restoring and improving soil health.
  • Several food and beverage brands are already implementing regenerative agriculture, such as Lundberg and Once Upon a Farm.

Regenerative agriculture is gaining traction with consumers and food brands alike. New proprietary research from ADM found revenue from regenerative agriculture is expected to nearly quadruple in the next decade — from $8.7 billion in 2022 to $32.2 billion in 2032.

From a consumer perspective, ADM’s research showed consumers are more apt to trust brands that champion regenerative agriculture programs. In fact, 73% of consumers said they’re more likely to trust brands that implement regenerative agriculture, and 72% said they would be more likely to purchase from those brands.

For food and beverage CPG brands, that’s a proposition worth exploring.

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is a farming practice that takes sustainability and stewardship to a new level.

While sustainability centers on preserving land used for agriculture, regenerative agriculture aims to restore land that’s been, or is being, depleted by farming practices.Each practice yields momentum toward regenerating the soil.

Specifically, regenerative agriculture focuses on soil health. Healthy soil is more effective at producing food, increases the quality and nutrition of the food produced, stores more carbon and increases biodiversity of the soil.

Regenerative agriculture practices include minimizing tillage, planting cover crops, and encouraging biodiversity by rotating crops and livestock.

Each practice yields momentum toward regenerating the soil.

woman holding soil

For example, decreasing the soil tillage helps carbon dioxide (CO2) stay in the soil. This confronts a key concern of  traditional intensive farming practices: the release of CO2 from the soil, which is considered a significant driver of global warming. Less tillage also improves the soil’s ability to absorb water and preserves the soil’s role as a habitat for fungi and insects.

Similarly, rotating crops improves the soil’s biodiversity, while rotating grazing animals protects the soil from degradation.

Regenerative agriculture in F&B

A number of food and beverage brands have recognized the value of regenerative agriculture. Even big brands like General Mills, Nestlé and Kellogg’s are taking steps to implement regenerative agriculture into their business practices.

In March, Lundberg Family Farms introduced more than 70 products made with Regenerative Organic Certified rice. In 2023, the company became the first U.S.-grown rice brand to launch Regenerative Organic Certified rice.

According to Suzanne Sengelmann, chief growth officer at Lundberg, the Regenerative Organic Certified rice will be available across the company’s portfolio, including packaged rice, rice cakes, rice and seasoning mixes, and its 90-second rice, “which has the potential to introduce a broad audience of convenience-minded and conventional consumers to regenerative organic products.”

Growing cover crops in the winter, creating habitats for California waterfowl and using natural methods to develop varieties of rice that are compatible with regenerative organic farming are some practices the company is using.

Also adding regenerative agriculture to its brand is Once Upon a Farm, a childhood nutrition company co-founded by Jennifer Garner. In January, the company entered the dairy aisle with the launch of its A2/A2 Whole Milk Shakes, which use organic whole milk sourced from Alexandre Family Farm, a Regenerative Organic Certified dairy farm in the U.S.

Regenerative practices employed by Alexandre Family Farm include strategic grazing of its dairy cattle and chickens. According to the company, its pasture management practices have improved the organic matter in its soil from 1% and 2% to 8%, 10% and 15% in an eight-year span.

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing writer

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

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