General Mills’ EPIC Provisions brand will launch next month the first beef snack to carry a regenerative agriculture eco-label.
The Savory Institute said Tuesday the launch of EPIC’s product marks the debut of the Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) label under its Land to Market (L2M) regenerative agriculture certification and eco-labeling program, which it refers to as “the world’s first verified regenerative supply chain” for meat, dairy, wool and leather.
Boulder, Colo.-based Savory has a goal to regenerate 2.5 billion acres of grasslands – about 20 percent of the world’s grasslands – through holistic management by 2025. It also administers a global network of over 100 hubs that work with producers to show them how to restore the natural cycles of grasslands through properly managed grazing.
The nonprofit had first announced the L2M program in January 2016. The labeling process is based on EOV, which measures criteria at the producer level such as soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water infiltration and ecosystem function.
Savory said “rather than providing an inventory of management behavior – tilling, cover cropping, rotational grazing – [EOV] measures how the land is responding to its management as a living system.”
General Mills acquired Austin, Texas-based EPIC in January 2016. The brand, founded in 2013 by Taylor Collins and his wife Katie Forrest, offers a line of snacks including meat bars, pork skins, meat bites, meat trail mix, meat snack strips, bacon bits, bone broth, and animal fats. EPIC recently began selling meatless protein bars made with cage-free egg whites. General Mills reported EPIC’s net sales doubled for the year ended June 2017.
EPIC Provisions is the first brand to take part in the L2M Program, helping Savory develop it since 2013. Since then, three other brands have signed on, including Applegate Natural and Organic Meats, Zuke’s Natural Dog Treats and Supplements, and Union Snacks.
In early October, Savory will provide an on-farm demonstration of EOV at North Mason Ranch in Mason, Texas, a working cattle ranch and demonstration site of the Grassfed Sustainability Group, Savory Global’s Texas Hub. Representatives of Epic, Zuke’s Applegate and Union Snacks will be present to explain how they are utilizing the L2M Program to launch products which will carry the EOV seal on-pack.
Another regenerative agriculture certification and labeling program called Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) is currently engaged in a pilot to test its standards with 22 brands and farms participating. The ROC, launched by Rodale Institute is set to officially launch in the first quarter of 2019. The certification is an add-on to the USDA’s organic standards with enhanced certification criteria focused on animal welfare, soil health and worker fairness label. The ROC covers requirements for farming and ranching operations, transportation, slaughter and certain processing facilities that produce food and fiber.
VIDEO: Watch more about the Land to Market Program