Farmer-owned cooperatives ideal for sustainability

by Staff
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BELLEVUE, WASH. — Laurie Demeritt, president and chief operating officer for The Hartman Group, believes farmer-owned cooperatives have an opportunity to capitalize on consumer demand for sustainable products.

"We find that consumers are increasingly seeking out more sustainable products, particularly with regard to food and beverage items," Ms. Demeritt said. "Moreover, consumers are looking to buy these products from organizations that reflect their own values and beliefs. Farmer-owned cooperatives are ideally positioned to meet current and future consumer needs in this space."

The Hartman Group did sustainability research for the National Council of Farmers Cooperative, and other aspects of the research find a cultural shift is taking place in terms of consumer awareness, acceptance and practices related to sustainability. In addition, farmer-owned cooperatives have an advantage over product companies in terms of sustainability because the concept of such cooperatives represents the values of social sustainability to consumers.

The research also found consumers view farmer-owned cooperatives as inherently sustainable, farmer-owned cooperatives may bring a social sustainability message to their consumers and the concept of "farmer owned" implies various attributes of sustainability to consumers.

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