Why We Believe in Food Transparency
Nearly a decade ago, One Degree Organic Foods co-founder Stan Smith and his family set out on a quest to connect organic farmers to family tables all over the world by just one degree of separation.
“Stan came to me and said, ‘I have this idea for creating a company where we would have the ability to trace every product—every ingredient in the product for the customer to see—where we are able to tell the story of these organic farmers and why they grow things the way they do,’” remembers co-founder Danny Houghton. “So, we founded One Degree Organics.”
This total food transparency is at the heart of One Degree Organics—it is literally what the company was built on—and it’s a principle that comes alive in every product. It starts with finding organic farmers who produce ingredients to the highest food quality standards out there, meeting them in person, learning their processes, and sharing our findings with customers straight on the packaging that houses our delicious, healthy foods. We believe in this food transparency whole-heartedly as a way of bringing trust and integrity back into the food industry.
“It started a process of really discovering that no matter how good of a farmer you are, when brokers go to buy applesauce or wheat or whatever it is, if someone is a tenth of a cent less, they’re going to get the business,” says Stan. “Think about all the brands you know, and how they get all the recognition, but where our food really comes from is the farmers. And yet they don’t get that much recognition—but they’re the ones we’re trusting to be investing back into the soil, to be taking care of things, to be keeping the toxins out.”
“It was about the same time Stan had dreamed this up that I really started paying attention to what I was buying,” adds co-founder Kathy Smith. “You start thinking about where it’s all coming from and what the ramifications of the choices you’re making are. I’m voting with my fork, whether I know it or not.”
By using food transparency to give every customer access to the farmer behind every ingredient, the Smith-Houghton family is gently causing a ripple in the food industry that they hope will usher in a golden age of organics and a clean break from commoditizing food.
“Food companies are quite flexible; we can bend and twist to the market,” says Stan. “For example, if everyone is saying we shouldn’t be eating salt, and yet, everyone likes the taste of salt, the food industry can come up with ‘no sodium’ salt solutions instead, even though they may be worse for you.
“We’ve been trying to get people to focus on more than just the nutritional panel, to get them to pay more attention to the ingredient list—what’s in their food and where it came from, and whether it’s a whole food, not just how many grams of salt or sugar it has.”
Behind every One Degree Organics ingredient is a farmer or producer partner with passion and a desire to help people find their way back to healthy ingredients. With scannable QR-codes on every One Degree Organics package, customers can actually meet the farmers by viewing videos of the family’s trip to meet them and reading stories about how they farm before they even leave the grocery store—a seemingly small technology innovation that makes food transparency truly possible.
Seeing the farms may seem like a stretch when you’re at your breakfast table reading the back of a cereal box, but as Stan puts it, “There’s so much you can learn just from watching how plants grow, and how the farmers live their lives. We’re working to shift people’s focus to understanding where food comes from. There’s a lot of crossover.”
Ready to dive in to total food transparency? Meet the farmers behind our delicious organic ingredients.
Find a store near you to pick up some delicious One Degree Organics food.