A few weeks ago, we talked about Silk’s decision to add some natural products to its portfolio. The post led to a lively discussion on our Facebook page, which generated a few additional questions and concerns that we’d like to address here.
So first off, what does “Natural” really mean?
There is no unified definition or regulation of what “natural” means in the food industry, so we created our own strict definition for our products. To Silk, The term “natural” means all the soybeans used in our products aren not genetically modified in any way. From seed to carton, our beans are put through four testing procedures to ensure they are GMO-free. And just yesterday we announced that Silk is officially part of the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program. The Non-GMO Project is the nation’s first system designed to test whether a product has met defined standards for the presence of GMOs, providing third party verification that the best practices of GMO avoidance are in use. - you’ll start seeing their logo on our packaging soon. And again, we still offer organic options in three of our most popular flavors – original, vanilla and unsweetened.
Great, but why can’t I find your organic options at my grocery store?
If you can’t find Silk Organic at your usual haunt (or any other product for that matter), you have a few options. 1. Talk to the store manager, and ask them to start carrying the products you want. We unfortunately can’t control who carries what, but you (the one spending money at the store) can. 2. Check out our product locater. We sell three times as much organic soymilk as all of our competitors combined, so chances are, there’s a store nearby that has what you’re looking for.
How can I be sure that your beans are sourced from farms in the U.S.
Currently, you have to take our word for it. Not good enough? We absolutely agree. By the end of this year, we will provide you with complete traceability regarding the source of our soybeans. You’ll be able to take your Silk cartons, enter a number into our website and track where the beans were grown and harvested.
Stay tuned to The Grazing Mind for updates on all our products.
Really excited to be partnering with brands like LG, Ford and Earthbound Farms this week, as part of The Green House project just down the way in Boulder. The “smart living” program brings together influential journalists from all over the country, and puts them up in a specially outfitted, net-zero Smart House for three days at a time. During the experience these guys get to go about their day-to-day routine with the help of a variety of products, services and technology that are good for your health, good for your wallet and good for the environment.
The Smart House is also blending a variety of companies and brands that don’t usually cross paths (Not often that soymilk and plasma TVs come together… on purpose anyway), but that’s actually one of the cooler parts of the program. The diverse group of company sponsors and products will allow for a complete “smart living” experience. How you cook, how you drive, how you do the laundry, how you watch TV, etc. This house can show you how to do it better.
Wanna see more? Me too.
On Wednesday (8/18), I’ll be tagging along with the group and featuring snippets from the day here on TGM….
We’ve talked about the Wafe Café a couple times here on TGM. It’s easily one of the things I love most about working in our headquarters building. Having access to a beautiful salad bar with fresh organic veggies every day can’t be beat. (Okay, neither can the pizza bar, grill station or deli, but I digress.)
Yesterday, we held a meeting for all employees. We do that every quarter. Our president kicks off the meetings, and then various employees provide updates on their respective pieces of the business. It’s a cool way to find out what’s going on at the company. Also cool, the BBQ out back after the meeting. It was catered by our fabulous folks in the Wave Café and in keeping with our commitment to zero-waste recycling we made sure Eco-Cycle zero-waste stations were prominent so that employees could dispose of their lunch scraps outside – just like they do every day at the café and in our break rooms.
The neat thing is Eco-Cycle captured and provide a snapshot of the benefits of our recycling and composting efforts just for that single lunch (they track this stuff for us annually, too.) Get this, just for that one lunch, our employees:
- Recovered 146 pounds of materials – that’s 97% of everything we discarded!
- Saved 2 gallons of gasoline in energy savings
- Saved 310 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Avoided 46 pounds of substances that threaten human health
Now that’s something to chew on.
Back in the ‘70s, when WhiteWave first started out, our mission was to bring soy to the masses. The biggest issue we faced then wasn’t competition, it was getting people to embrace soy as an alternative to dairy. None of that has changed. We are pioneers, who created and are now evolving and growing the category. But growth doesn’t come without growing pains. Don’t get me wrong, the more plant and soy-based products people consume, the more proud we are of our work. It means that we’ve succeeded in helping people make better, healthier choices. But it also means we now have to compete with other companies.
It’s always been our goal to grow the soymilk category, but it’s also our goal to maintain our leadership position in the category, something we set in motion over 30 years ago, and we’re going to protect it. But this does raise an important question – did we make the right decision adding all-natural options to our Silk Soymilk portfolio?
The answer is simple. Maintaining that leadership position depends on increasing the access people have to our products. This means putting Silk products on more shelves in more stores. It also means making our products affordable. Sourcing US-based all-organic beans would have required increasing our prices. And increasing our prices, especially in this economy, would have made it hard for people to buy our soymilk. Not all our consumers, but some. More importantly, making Silk difficult to purchase would have prevented new people from choosing our product or even entering the marketplace at all.
It’s important to note that the all-natural Silk options are an addition to our portfolio. What does that mean? Well, Natural to us means our beans are NON-gmo and have no artifical colors or flavors. We also wanted to keep Silk sustainable, so we only source our soybeans in the U.S. We still offer organic versions of three of our most popular flavors, with our unsweetened soymilk now exclusively organic. It’s also worth noting that we sell more organic soymilk than all of our competitors combined, three times as much actually. Every soybean we source comes from here in the US. In the coming year, our products will carry the Non-GMO Project-verified seal, and soon people will have the ability to track the sources of the soybeans in their Silk products on our website.
Stay tuned to The Grazing Mind, as we’ll be taking a closer look in the next few weeks at our Silk products, the sources we carefully choose and the partnerships that will help us continue to be the number one brand of soymilk in the U.S.