The Ecological Food Manufacturers Assn. (EFMA) has been formed to help food companies meet growing demands for foods & beverages that are safe, nutritious and ecological. And it’s seeking founding food & beverage processors as members.
Many food companies are learning that “going green” can translate into more sales and more profit. “Though sustainable business practices are good for the planet, what businesses need right now are ways to cut costs and discover more income,” says Riley. “By cutting waste and conserving resources, businesses make money while benefiting the environment at the same time. Not only will we help members achieve those goals, but we plan to grow the category of ecological foods by conducting group marketing campaigns.
“We also need to prepare our members for the [rising] consumer concern about safety and sustainability,” says founder Winston Riley.
Riley contends the food industry must confront consumer concerns with “eyes wide open” and to regain consumer confidence with meaningful sustainable solutions.
He’s invested his own money into starting the organization, but is looking for board members to guide the organization -- Food Processing editor Dave Fusaro is one.
“Starting a new trade association, especially in times like these, is slow and difficult. But once people get involved and invest their energy and passion, magic starts to happen,” says Riley.
He expressed concern with recent books and films that have painted the food & beverage industry as driven only by profit. But he believes EFMA can both motivate processors to do better and to convince consumers that the food industry is responding.
“If the health of our children is being threatened or there is a compounding negative affect to the environment by our current food system, the solution is not to attack the food companies, but to work with them,” he insists. “It won’t help to overturn the apple cart. It is the food companies that feed us and employ a huge work force. It is an industry which should be supported.”
Riley suggests that food companies can follow the principle of the triple-bottom-line -- giving equal concern for the customer, the planet and profit.
Ultimately, Riley would like EFMA to create a seal or comprehensive score to be carried on packaging that will tell shoppers at a glance how well the product scored on issues of safety, nutrition and sustainability.
“Our children will be grateful, our planet will be grateful and stockholders will be grateful,” he concludes. Riley is a chef, a businessman and a self-proclaimed “green warrior” who has worked on sustainability projects for more than 10 years. He is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and Green America and was the founder and first president of the Research Chefs Assn.
Consider joining the Ecological Food Manufacturers Assn., where you can help define these goals and shape the eventual scorecard that consumers will use to make purchases. To join EFMA, contact Riley at 417-581-0738 or by email at [email protected] or visit www.ecofma.com.