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Organic certification: How to transform challenges into opportunities

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

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Organic certification in the food industry seals a promise to the public that the food they are purchasing is free of pesticides, insecticides and artificial or synthetic fertilizers. Certification has been built into my company, Davidson’s Organic Teas for the past 15 years. However, keeping a promise of this magnitude doesn’t come without its challenges.

In 2015 the Nevada Department of Agriculture dissolved the organic certification program for the entire state. This presented several issues. It became apparent we would need a new organic certifier to speak to the quality of our teas. Additionally, we had more than 10,000 pre-printed packages with the Nevada organic seal. Sending these off to fill up landfills was neither a viable nor environmental option.

With careful thought and consideration, we came up with solutions to combat these issues and create a fresh new future for the company. Here are just a few takeaways from our experience with adapting to accommodate change when it comes to organic certification:

Don’t get tied up in the challenge

There’s something to be said for optimism. The best decision we made as a company was to accept the situation and look at innovative ways to overcome the adversity we faced. Oregon Tilth Certified Organics, one of the top two certifiers in the nation, served as an ideal certifier replacement. Changing certifiers gave us the opportunity to invest in new materials, a fresh look and a redesign.

Re-examine your core competency

After a year of in-market research, we came back more informed as to what modern consumers are interested in finding on their grocer‘s shelves, and we were ready for the opportunity to re-establish our place in the tea scene. As a result, we plan to re-introduce the brand to our customers with a renewed focus on health and more modern branding, just in time for Davidson’s 40th anniversary. Throughout 2016, 40 tea parties will be given away to loyal customers to allow them to revel in our anniversary with us.

Seize opportunities for change

We partnered with Ayurvedic physician Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar to release six new teas at the beginning of 2016. The teas are selected, grown and blended to help balance doshas and support health through ancient Ayurvedic principles.

Fresh, modern packaging was designed to reach new audiences and appeal to our current customer base. As the new packaging will begin to phase in starting in January, a local artist was contacted to repurpose boxes with the old branding. This satisfied our need to operate responsibly, even in the midst of change.

No business owner can anticipate the unexpected challenges that may arise. After 40 years of operations, trials are bound to occur. It’s with flexibility and innovative spirit that a team can leap beyond hurdles and turn challenges into opportunities. I expect many great things to happen as we surpass our 40th anniversary, and look forward to many more to come.

Kunall Patel is the co-owner of Davidson’s Organic Teas.


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