Bensi Levy
Director General
The Green Corner
View from the Top

Social Consciousness Leads to Organic Food Boom

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 14:40

Q: How has society responded to your products in a time where food has become a focal point in people’s lives?

A: At first we thought convincing people would be the hardest task, which was certainly not the case. Even though the turnout was much lower, there was always a demand for organic goods. We saw people from Cuernavaca, Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende and Aguascalientes, to name a few, coming to our store looking for better alternatives. It is also true that The Green Corner went through an education process, taking part in organic tianguis, back when they were not popular. In 2005, the company participated in an enormous organic fair launched at Mexico City's Zócalo in celebration of World Environment Day. At this event, producers and distributers got to know each other while also assessing the number of consumers in the city. The Green Corner’s initiative also led the company to schools and hospitals, educating the general public of the benefits that organic products had. In return, physicians started sending their patients to us for viable preventive solutions.

Q: Where does this market segment stand and what are the newest trends that The Green Corner has perceived?

A: Newly attained social consciousness has led to exponential market growth. Although there has been a demand upsurge over the last six years the segment is going through difficult times due to Mexico’s economic crisis. As such, growth has not continued as strong as before. But new niches have emerged, such as raw, vegan and gluten free products, to name a few. Having a wide variety of nonprocessed goods is the segment’s goal. It is important to keep in mind that a balanced lifestyle is vital for a healthy body. Therefore, organic foods must be supported by consistent exercise and stable sleep cycles. Unfortunately, the market is shifting to an industrialized organic pattern, which takes away from the basic principle of creating a rich biodiverse environment.

Q: What can you tell us about The Green Corner’s production mechanisms?

A: Our production practices keep the environment in mind at all times including the impact we are generating and the influence we have on our community. We are creating employment and positively impacting the region’s crime rate, which we take great pride in. Our workforce has grown throughout the years as our sustainable development model works year-round contrary to the season-based approach of industrialized enterprises. The latest organic industrialization trend has blueprinted their working mechanisms and although products are healthier than the average they do not cover the whole environmental spectrum. There is little waste from The Green Corner’s end as organic matter in the process of turning bad is used for either juice production or to feed livestock. This way we close natural life cycles and reduce costs. We have a rain capture pond used in our irrigation processes differing from wells that need foreign sources of energy to extract water. Once implemented we decided to introduce bream that feed off mosquitoes. Given their quick reproduction we now harvest fish meat as well. Our pond water is filled with nutrients derived from fish waste so it is used in our fields to enrichen the soil. We are creating an intricate ecosystem that the industrial model previously wiped out.

Q: How does the Green Corner pick the producers it does business with and what are the company’s distribution channels?

A: There were no pre-established norms when we first started our operations. We took it upon ourselves to make sure that our partners followed our philosophy. As the industry grew bigger the NOM-037 came into force. To date, around 95 percent of producers are certified. However, this is not enough to ensure good practices. Organic industrialized companies have enough distribution channels with large supply chains. Small producers need stores like The Green Corner to survive. We also help small producers obtain certifications as we have close relationships with certifying agencies. So far 37 farmers have been certified with the help of The Green Corner.

Q: Where will we see The Green Corner in 2016?

A: We expect to open more stores in Mexico City, commercialize larger product volumes, and consequently help small farmers. In parallel, we will lower the volume of imported products in our shelves.