Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Conscious (Sourcing)
Choices in the CPG Space

By Miguel Taylor Winsor, Lead Gnome at OhmGnomes, The Enchanted Waffle & Elixirs

Behind every packaged product we interact with lies a web of complicated choices that brought it to a shelf, onto a plate, or upon someone’s back. The same endless trees of ethical and moral decisions pave the path of every CPG from concept to creation to capitalization. We all know them: What Ingredients do I use? What kind of packaging? Do I use Plastic or Compostable? Conventional or Organic? Large or Tight Margins? Do I splurge or save? Does anyone even care? How much should I care?
From ingredients to packaging, producers and manufacturers play a delicate balancing act of margins, vision, and consumer desires that creates a complicated scenario. How we choose to balance these ultimately causes reactions in the world.

 

Why conscious creation matters

Manufacturing places us at a nexus between Creator, Farmer, and Consumer. What we demand is what farmers produce; what we create is what the world perceives. With a unique background as both farmer and manufacturer, the choices that I once made in the field or now make in the kitchen ultimately influence the course of action for all involved here and into the future. My choice of ingredients and packaging dictate what is grown and what is released into the world. My dollar and my purchasing power affect consumers’ perception.
Conscious creation is a mindfulness practice, one that evaluates the overall environmental and systemic impacts of manifesting a vision into reality and actively works to mitigate the negative impacts of our processes.

 

Wielding our conscious creative power

For OhmGnomes & The Enchanted Waffle and Elixirs, we choose to wield our conscious creative power by committing ourselves to source ingredients and packaging that we believe to have the largest pros-to-cons ratio for the environment and our community:
We source ideally farm-direct, regeneratively grown organic ingredients, utilize compostable packaging, and third-party verify our products to be clean of contaminants and residual herbicides, pesticides, and mold. We buy Fair Trade or better when possible. We reduce the amount of trash we produce and reuse what we can. These are small, but potent tokens of conscious sourcing that we happily make to positively contribute to the world we want to live in.
Our choice to use a cleaner ingredient or a compostable bag has a sizeable impact when we consider our scale. We use thousands of pounds of ingredients and nearly 1,000 pounds in packaging a year – much more than the average person ever sees. We’re still on the small scale when it comes to manufacturing, but we recognize that for ourselves, our farmers, and our customers that our conscious choices thus far have influenced the world in one way or another. Every compostable bag filled with an organic treat is another delightful moment we facilitated into existence, at a price point that the average person can afford.
The ripple effect of our choices is honestly a bit intangible and, for most, must be evaluated against the added struggles they impart on our daily business operations. Cost, reliability, and market maturity are struggle factors that complicate an otherwise easy conscious sourcing choice. Organic, Clean, and Fair-Trade ingredients cost more and are more scarce, compostable packaging is often limited in its applicability, and the prevalence of alternative options is not always guaranteed.
When the theoretical goal of business is profit, these factors limit the adoption of more conscious options. When the “goal” of business butts up against taking an unpredictable innovative approach, it’s understandable why some choose to follow the status quo and sedate their creative power – it’s not about innovation, it’s about ease.
Personally, the realization of our Creative Power potential and its ripple effects excites me to take an innovative approach — and not shy away from being a positive example. I’m willing to go the extra step to pioneer a path forward for ethical farming, sustainable packaging, and affordable quality products for all.
I have a chance to make a lasting, generational impact — so why not do so consciously? Create to better the world, and you’ll make money that’s cleaner at the end of the day.

 

How to make your own conscious sourcing choices

Here are some easy ways to begin making more Conscious Sourcing Choices:

Food & Fiber Businesses – Source as Farm Direct as possible from your local Foodsheds and Fibershed.
Easy ways to start to do this are:

  • Visiting Farmers Markets and meeting farmers directly – farming is not easy work, and neither is finding the special ingredient. Direct connections foster more direct economic growth.
  • Find local organizations that support farmers in your area and connect with farms directly.
  • Use social media and search engines to search directly for local or regional sources for your needs (i.e. Wheat flour grown in Central Texas)

 

Consider Organic, Clean, Ethically Sourced Ingredients
Easy ways to start to do this are:

  • Organic options are more abundant these days than before and are less expensive in some cases than conventional items.
  • Natural preservatives, flavors, and natural colors can be readily accessible and cost-effective and just as potent as artificial options. Aim for clean ingredients throughout the process!
  • Major Allergens can be reduced or eliminated easily in many cases for many recipes these days.

 

Consider Compostable Packaging and Labeling
Easy ways to start to do this are:

  • Search compostable packaging and labels in any search engine. There are so many options for premade and custom-made bags.
  • Consider reusable packaging if compostable is not available or not applicable to your needs (i.e. glass, metal, wood).
  • If at minimum, all else fails, recyclable is better than nothing!

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