At Good Earth, quality standards are the cornerstone of our business, and we monitor our industry closely to ensure that our standards reflect the best of what is currently available in our food system.
As the food system evolves, so do our standards. In recent years, market availability of organic products has greatly improved, and we’re proud to say that over the past several years, we’ve been able to transition our Produce, Bakery, Kitchen, Cafe and Bulk Foods departments to carrying only products that meet USDA organic requirements.
In other departments like Grocery, Refrigerated and Frozen, we’re getting much closer to our goal of offering only organic, Non-GMO foods, and will continue to work with our suppliers to reach this goal.
Here’s how our Quality Standards team is currently evaluating products for our packaged food offerings.
We prioritize products that are certified organic at the 95% level. While we consider products that are certified organic at the 70% level, we dialogue with the brand, encouraging them to increase the amount of organic content in their product.
We will only consider a non-organic item if it serves a special dietary need like Gluten-free or Vegan, and an organic option is not commercially available. If a non-organic item is at risk for GMOs or contains non-organic sugar or highly processed oils, it will not be considered, and we will make recommendations to the brand for improvements.
If a vendor is small and local, we will consider products that have organic ingredients, but are not yet USDA certified organic.
We spend time with new food companies, helping them understand how we can support them as they enter the marketplace and how organic certification helps the overall Good Earth mission of revolutionizing the American food system. Many vendors come to the table without this understanding. They see the economic growth in organic, but sometimes are not educated on the accountability, transparency and the political importance of the organic certification system.
We love to have this dialogue.
We seek out brands that are making sustainable choices in packaging, and we prioritize products that are packaged in glass over products that are packaged in plastic.
We avoid excessively packaged items whenever possible. For example, we have traditionally refrained from selling the plastic bowls of partially cooked rice, wrapped in plastic that are often found in the freezer section of other grocery stores.
We also refrain from receiving items that are shipped directly in unsustainable ways. For instance, if a vendor wishes to send us an amazing chocolate, but requires that we receive styrofoam boxes filled with ice packs as part of the shipment, we will recommend a change and will not order the item.
Ingredients We Say “No” To
We do not carry products with hydrogenated oils, hexane extracted oils, chemical food colorings, chemical preservatives, bleached white flour, monosodium glutamate and non-organic refined white sugar. In general, these issues are covered by the USDA organic standard, but we still vet these ingredients for non-organic items that we are considering as standards exceptions.
We take our standards very seriously, and all of our buyers are tasked with seeking out the highest quality organic products available, while working with suppliers to communicate and educate around the importance of organic within our food system.