Market Musings Blog

The *Good* Good Cereal

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed

-Gandhi (quoted on the homepage of Nature’s Path Foods)

natures path logoBreakfast cereals are among the most frequently green-washed of prepared foods: like dairy products, they are often marketed with green fields, sunny skies, rainbows, friendly birds, grazing cattle—anything and everything bucolic and pastoral short of unicorns. Nature’s Path, a British Columbia-based producer of breakfast cereal, is no exception to this romantic marketing, but unlike many middle-aisle brands, it doesn’t only talk green: it walks green. Given a perfect environmental rating by the Cornucopia Institute (“promoting economic justice for family-scale farming”) and repeated awards as one of Canada’s best and greenest employers, Nature’s Path is a brand worthy of your support, whether you’re most attracted by the international recognition it’s won, its community and agricultural activism (Arran Stephens is a founding member of the Non-GMO Project and a board member of the Rodale Institute), or its regional connection to the Upper Midwest through its processing plant in Sussex, Wisconsin.

Natures PathArran Stephens came by his interest in organic food through his father, who began farming organically on Vancouver Island in the 1950s. In the 1960s, Arran and his new wife, Ratana, opened Canada’s first wholly vegetarian restaurant; they started Nature’s Path Foods as a sideline from their restaurant’s kitchen. Nature’s Path is now North America’s largest breakfast cereal manufacturer, offering cereals for special diets (gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan, low-sodium, reduced sugar) and a wide range of grains (flax, hemp, chia, kamut, buckwheat, hemp, spelt, quinoa).

The two generations of Stephenses who guide Nature’s Path take their stewardship seriously: the family donates 1% of the company’s total sales (not the 1% of net profit donated by most community-minded businesses) to food banks, community gardens, and other not-for-profits, and every family member serves in food justice and environmental organizations in Canada and the US. If whole grains and breakfast cereals are staples in your kitchen, Nature’s Path offers you excellent products with a vividly green story behind them.

Filed under: Grocery