Prediction #4: Sustainably Organic. Increased focus on companies’ impact on biodiversity, water and soil conservation will translate to additional sustainability metrics in organic practices. As the spirit of organic is to grow in harmony with nature, each farm and company’s environmental impact will be under more scrutiny.
Prediction #5: Transparency Made Tangible. Consumers need to know and trust the sourcing of the products they buy will drive total transparency in the organic production chain, and make QR (quick response) codes—already introduced by QAI in July 2012—commonplace for all organic certificates and on packaging. The USDA Seal for organic will remain credible, and online tools will be used by consumers to see the credibility of each product’s organic claims.
Prediction #6: No More Shopping Gaps. Practical steps will be taken to be more inclusive and steps will be taken to include new or emerging industry sectors. This will make organic certification available in sectors currently excluded in the regulations—like aquaculture/seafood. It also will address underserved categories like dietary supplements, pet food, personal care, cleaning supplies, fiber and flowers. If it starts with a plant, mammal or fish, it can be certified organic. Consumers will be able to find certified organic products in all sections of the supermarket and pharmacy.
Prediction #7: Organic Literacy is Evident. After years of some confusion in the marketplace, efforts by the NOP (USDA’s National Organic Program), Organic Trade Association, and retailers pay off in increased consumer literacy for organic. Land grant universities also help increase knowledge in organic through their own research initiatives and increase in organic and sustainable agriculture tracks.
Prediction #8: Accessible Organic. Larger organic production, from farm acreage expansion to processing facilities, will translate into organic landing where it is most needed: schools, hospitals, food banks, convenience stores and in mainstream America’s homes.