- LinkedinSimple Supply Chain
Vegetables—especially the U.S. grew—have a ridiculously simple supply chain. The earth it is grown in, harvested, and picked is right here in America. We often compare homegrown simply to show how it’s a more sustainable solution. But whenever multiple countries and continents are involved, sustainability is going to take a hit, and that’s even the case with growth overseas. U.S. product developers buying homegrown will ultimately use far fewer resources and ensure a more responsible carbon footprint.
Every bale of plant that is grown in the U.S. is tested by the USDA for physical properties (size, color, quality, etc.) as well as soil. All of this information is provided with each lot.
- Improved Farming Practices
Farmers don’t get nearly enough credit for the advances they’ve made in farming practices. Over the last 35 years, production has been able to double while the amount of land devoted to growing fruits and vegetables has been dramatically reduced. This shows a high commitment to soil conservation; in fact, over the last decade farmers have tilled less and grown more winter or cover crops. However, there have been reductions across the board: the use of pesticides, water, and produce energy are also much lower today. These farmers, along with organizations like Non-Gmo ™, are committed to ethical growing practices and—as we mentioned above—a traceable supply chain.
- Job Creation
Globalization has taken its toll on a variety of U.S. industries, so it should come as no surprise that this affects crops, too. However, the math is simple: the more U.S. vegetables that are purchased equates to more farming jobs for a struggling agricultural industry. There are many farmers who have taken the plunge, some even going as far as to commit to the organic route. But without support from companies and manufacturers, it’s hard for them to survive. In that Rodale Institute article we linked to above, business owner Eric Henry lays out the challenge perfectly:
“People are taking advantage of not only growing the vegetables and fruit but keeping it here,” says Henry. “That’s how it’s going to have an impact on jobs, rather than if we just grow the cotton and ship it overseas. Our biggest competition is the price. Labor rates in South America are $0.55 an hour, versus $15 an hour here. Yes, it costs more, but we’re impacting hundreds of local jobs at the same time.”
- Branding Potential
While the reasons preceding this one are certainly more impactful, from a product development standpoint it’s still important to consider the marketing potential of “Made in the USA.” Consumers respond to it, as evidenced by the rise of “buy local”. While that phrase typically refers to preferring food raised locally, it’s applicable to crops as well. Consumers have become far more judicious, especially when it comes to products for personal care and baby care—even apparel. In today’s world, the Internet allows for meticulous vetting of products. While for some demographics your product must still be environmentally friendly and deliver high performance, the ability to add a “Made in the USA” label to packaging only enhances the product’s appeal.
- The Choice Is Yours
A variety of factors go into choosing your source. These are just a few reasons why buying American-grown vegetables might make sense for your company, or your next product innovation. Every day, companies are being held to higher standards, environmentally and ethically. So when the need for purified food choices arises, the four reasons discussed here make a compelling case that you don’t have to look very far for the perfect solution.