Category 18 April 2019

Making organic growers’ sustainability efforts visible to consumers through online tracking system

Eosta both manages and supplies sustainably grown organic food products in the Netherlands. Established 22 years ago, Eosta created an innovative marketing system to promote organic food markets in the country. The projects’ success is due to its sustainability flower model, designed to evaluate and communicate the achievements of organic growers.   

The challenge

Consumers interested in making more sustainable choices often only have limited knowledge of organic and sustainable products. At the same time, they may not trust retailers and producers to comply with social and environmental standards. Therefore, there is a need for raising consumer awareness regarding organic growers’ sustainability efforts to win their trust in organic food, thereby promoting sustainable consumption.

The innovation

The Dutch company Eosta imports, packages and distributes organic fruits, vegetables and juices carrying the ‘nature & more’ label. Eosta’s ‘nature & more’ system contains a ‘grower code’ giving consumers access to a grower’s page at the ‘nature & more’ website where they can watch a video on the grower’s activities to supply organic products in accordance with the ‘Eosta sustainability flower’.

Created in 2009, the sustainability flower consists of six petals, with seeds at its heart. The petals of the flower represent ecological criteria, while the heart of the flower reflects social criteria. Each ‘nature & more’ grower has his own personal sustainability flower, telling consumers how he cares for ecological aspects (energy, air, water etc.) as well as social aspects (his employees and the local community etc.).   

Why did it work?

The Eosta business model bridges the missing link between consumers and producers of organic products. The online access to growers and the possibility to ask direct questions creates trust in ‘nature & more’ products. As a commercial enterprise, Eosta uses private equity funding for development, demonstration and commercial exploitation.

Further deployment

The maturity of the Eosta online marketing system is estimated to be 7 on the GML scale. A third party verification of growers’ organic claims could be added to the online tracking system to further strengthen the brand. This concept can be applied to other sectors (e.g., for auditing sustainability efforts of enterprises in the papermaking and pulp sector).

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