Going Certified Organic - What We Didn't Know

Here's 5 things that surprised us about getting our granola bars certified organic:

  1. It’s More Than The Ingredients: Like many people, we assumed that getting certified organic was just about using all organic ingredients in our product. Boy were we wrong! We quickly learned that getting certified is much more involved than just the ingredients.  Everything that touches your product is subject to intense scrutiny – expensive food grade containers, cutting boards, even the laundry detergent that you use to wash your dish towels.  You must be able track with documentation all your ingredients from your suppliers all the way through manufacturing to delivery to your customers. Naturally, this involves countless spreadsheets, invoices and other mountains of paperwork.  You’re also subject to a rigorous onsite audit and inspection where the inspector looks through your records and processes with a fine- toothed comb.  Lets just say that the days leading up to our inspection were just a bit stressful! 
  1. It Takes Time:We also thought the process would be relatively quick.Again, we were very much wrong.  Just getting the initial application ready is time consuming and requires all your paperwork to be in order.  Scheduling the inspection takes weeks, and after the inspection you can expect to wait a couple more weeks before you hear back on the results.  More than likely, you will have some sort of corrective action to take, which delays the process even longer.  For us, the whole process took well over 3 months.
  1. It’s Expensive:We were surprized at the cost of going organic- we though it may be a few hundred bucks, however it ended up costing thousands of dollars to get certified. This cost doesn’t go away either, as you need to get recertified every year.
  1. Damn Dish Soap: Surprisingly, one of the issues that drove us crazy was dish soap. One of the requirements is that the dish soap you use to wash your dishes have strict biodegradability standards.  Finding an off-the shelf brand that could meet the strict definition was very frustrating. We contacted nearly a dozen dish soaps that claimed to be “biodegradable”, but when we asked for specifics, they were very vague and unhelpful.  Finally, after having four brands rejected by the certifying body, we found one called Seventh Generation that fit the bill.
  1. It Was Worth It: Something we didn’t know when we considered going organic was if it would be worth it. After all, there’s a significantly higher cost in making a certified organic product. The ingredients can be 20-40% more expensive compared to the uncertified stuff. Also, the paperwork trail and record keeping is way more intense than a non-certified operation. But, what we did know from the get-go was that we wanted to provide our customers with a high quality product with trusted ingredients.  Going organic allowed us to do just that – we are able to confidently track the quality of our ingredients all the way from the farm, through our facility and to our customers, giving them what they expect - a high-quality, great tasting and nourishing granola bar.   This is reflected in our company motto – convenience without compromise.  In hindsight, we realize that getting certified organic was a no-brainer and we’re excited that you’ll now find it stamped on our packaging.

So with that, grab a bar for the road and enjoy your summer!

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