Organic Food, a Market RisingWed, 09/09/2015 - 16:00
Q: What is the vision behind The Green Corner and what opportunities were capitalized upon to realize this initiative?
A: The Green Corner initially began as a family project seeking to trade in areas across Nepantla, in the State of Mexico. In the beginning, I was looking to create an infrastructure for a vacation center where I could go and spend time with my family, but I quickly reevaluated the use of the land and decided to use it to establish an organic agriculture company. Upon further investigation, I realized the scale of challenges and opportunities presented to us through this business, which profoundly motivated me to promote healthy lifestyles. I wanted to improve the quality of life of both my family and society by designing my own infrastructure for distribution and eliminate the intermediaries. The vision that sparked this business was the desire to develop integral means of supporting the environment, universal health, and the surrounding communities. I understood that creating my organic food business would not only help to improve consumer health, but also to support the small producers who lacked a fair way to distribute their goods.
Q: Do you consider consumer perceptions to have changed regarding organic foods in Mexico ?
A: We felt that consumers were receptive to the product from day one. People were not actively seeking out organic food but its need has always existed in an indirect way, given the immense health benefits it provides. As marketers, we have noted that this meant a significant increase in the consumption of this type of food. Previously, it was necessary to explain to consumers what organic food was, but now people have an increased understanding about organics. However, the benefits brought by these products come with a higher price tag, which is certainly a challenge for the population.
Q: How would you compare the adaption to organic food in Mexico with that of the rest of the world?
A: I believe that we are very well positioned. We know that in the US the organic product range is wide, incorporating both natural and conventional products. However, there are not enough specialized shops for organic food, a phenomenon that is common across the American continent where the culture for consuming organically-cultivated produce is relatively new. Europe is the biggest market and producer of organic foods hence it is easier to find shops dedicated exclusively to the sale of organic products there.
Q: What role do you think organic crops can play in fighting illnesses?
A: Conventional agricultural practices has negatively affected the nutritional value of the products, because traditional planting often means they do not contain the same natural properties and nutrients as organics as a direct result of the deterioration of the earth through use of chemicals. Undoubtedly, organic harvest contains nutritional properties conducive to improving the immune system and as a result, helps to combat illnesses. Due to this significant factor, we have received a lot of customers sent by physicians that are familiar with our products. With consumption of organic produce, the body receives all the essential nutrients it requires to operate in a healthy way.”
Q: How does The Green Corner choose its suppliers?
A: We previously chose suppliers by visiting them and establishing close relationships based on honesty and hard work. Since the company has grown, many producers have approached us, and we now require an organic certification. We are well versed in all the norms required to be certified as organic producers. Firstly, we want to be assured that our suppliers share our philosophy, and afterwards we integrate them into our production process. The strict requirements have advantages but there are also certain pitfalls given that these certifications can only be obtained for a cost that many micro-producers cannot afford.
Q: What are the main challenges faced by agro-producers today?
A: The main problem is competing in terms of price, since manual processes generate a greater need for workers. It is also more difficult to compete with major producers. Moreover, one of the main challenges that we face is the current lifestyle in the country. The daily life of an average citizen is so stressful that people do not dedicate enough time to nourish their bodies.