Regenerative Ag

Marketing Resilient Food Production: How Kellanova and Oatly Are Leading the Pack

This article was originally published by Sustainable Brands.

By partnering with Regrow Ag to track and reduce supply chain emissions, Kellanova and Oatly are driving change and increasing awareness through transparent, data-driven marketing.

This article was originally published by Sustainable Brands, in partnership with Regrow. The article has been amended to incorporate the brand transition from Kellogg's to Kellanova, which occurred in October 2023. See the original article here.

Savvy brands are increasingly embracing regenerative agriculture to address the urgent need for increased resilience across global food systems. By transparently sharing their regenerative-agriculture journey with consumers, brands not only demonstrate their dedication to responsible and ethical practices but also empower consumers to make informed choices that support a thriving agricultural ecosystem. This alignment between companies and consumers in the pursuit of regenerative agriculture creates a powerful synergy that can cultivate positive change throughout the food industry.

No strangers to sharing their regenerative ag efforts with consumers, global food leaders Kellanova and Oatly are pushing for agricultural resilience throughout their farming supply chains. Earlier this year, Oatly launched the ‘F.A.R.M.’ (Future Agriculture Renovation Movement) — which aims to restore carbon, improve biodiversity and support farm viability. Kellanova makes concerted efforts to integrate its Better Days® Promise into its consumer conversations — explaining their commitment to advancing sustainable and equitable access to food by addressing the intersection of wellbeing, hunger, sustainability; and diversity, equity and inclusion — across its operations.

“[Kellanova] knows that consumers care about where their foods come from. Our company has a commitment to responsibly source its key ingredients and support farmers. These are values that customers and consumers care deeply about. Informing customers about our commitment to agriculture using packaging and a marketing mix is an expectation of consumers today,” Janelle Meyers, Chief Sustainability Officer at Kellanova, tells Sustainable Brands® (SB).

Similarly, Julie Kunen, Sustainability Director at Oatly, tells SB: “Oatly is a company that believes very strongly in transparency. We want to talk about our journey with our customers — what we’re trying to do, the parts that are hard, and what’s worked well so far.”

Both companies have partnered with Regrow Ag — whose enterprise science and tech platform is helping other major food players including General Mills to monitor their agricultural practices and environmental impacts, and shift toward regenerative practices — to understand their supply chain emissions; and they are excited to share their findings with consumers.

Regrow Ag and customer communication

“Consumers deeply care about climate action that brands are taking, as they seek to align their values with companies that invest into our collective future,” said Dr. Anastasia Volkova, co-founder and CEO of Regrow Ag. “The shift to regenerative practices ultimately results in agriculture resilience, which benefits the entire supply chain, from the farmers to consumers that brand serves.”

Kellanova leverages Regrow’s Agriculture Resilience Platform to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement throughout its rice supply chain — as part of its InGrained™ program, launched in 2022. Using a playbook of climate-positive practices, rice producers are rewarded for the tons of GHG emissions they reduce. The program also offers training opportunities in irrigation management, nutrient management and soil health to support farmers’ transition to new practices.

“It is important for [Kellanova] to work with a trusted partner like Regrow that can provide important third-party validation of the outcomes we’re working with farmers and technical advisors to achieve,” Meyers explains. “We’re very pleased with our initial results. During the pilot year of the program, farmers achieved a reduction of more than 1,600 metric tons of GHGs — the equivalent of taking more than 345 gasoline-powered cars off the road for one year.”

Meanwhile, Oatly is a pioneer in climate-related marketing — earlier this year, the company introduced climate footprint labeling on its reformulated oatgurt line and has challenged the dairy industry to put its own carbon footprint figures forward. Oatly believes that displaying climate-impact data on products should be an industry standard: Just as companies provide nutritional information, they should also have to share their environmental footprints. Kunen says the company is excited about the data-driven marketing and farmer communication that its partnership with Regrow will enable.

“We feel lucky to have found Regrow — a company that brings both sophisticated modeling and scientific understanding to the issues we’re working with, whilst also being very approachable from the perspective of a farmer on the ground; that was a key element in the partnership — because we're working closely with our supplier in our pilot, and the supplier is bringing along the producers; and we want to make sure that there’s a language we can all share,” she added.

Kunen hopes that the partnership with Regrow will enable Oatly to refine its emission factors to understand the GHGs in its supply chain — allowing it to report actual emissions, as opposed to national averages; and create an outcome-based framework that flags which practices yield the biggest results, guiding future investments.

“One of the reasons that we have been quite quiet about our partnership with Regrow is that we plan to talk about it when we get results that can be shared with our consumers and producers, which I’m excited for,” Kunen explains. “We're not a company that likes to just talk about ‘stuff’ — let’s talk when we’ve got some substance to share; that’s our attitude as a company and Regrow can give us that substance.”

Inspiring the masses

Both companies want to inspire other industry players to make the investments and changes necessary to shift to regenerative practices. By creating unique programs, Kellanova hopes to make industry players think differently about how they can collaborate with farmers to erase the negative impacts of farming on the planet.

“Focusing on the positive impacts our initiatives can have on the communities where we live and operate, as well as highlighting how these initiatives can help drive our company growth, is essential for our ESG strategy,” Meyers says. “[Kellanova] is pleased by the results of its greenhouse gas-reducing signature sustainability programs — but we also always believe we can do more. As this important work continues, we’re looking forward to collaborating with more partners.”

Oatly is on a mission to foment the plant-based revolution and raise awareness of the negative impacts the current food system has on the climate, biodiversity and public health. The company also wants to highlight food as a solution to these problems — the solution being to eat more responsibly raised plants.

“We see plant-based eating as a solution to the trifecta of global crises (climate crisis, global loss of biodiversity, and human health crisis) and is something we take very seriously. A lot of the work we do is to encourage and inspire other companies, partners and end consumers alike to join our journey. We talk a lot about what we think our role should be and what we need others to do to make this all work for everybody,”

Kunen says. “We’re also loud — we put labels on the pack, talk about what's in our products, where it comes from, publish our methodologies, and try to push for other companies to follow suit.”

As industry leaders, Kellanova and Oatly are not only driving change within their operations but also challenging their peers to join the movement toward a more resilient and regenerative future in agriculture. By actively involving consumers in their regenerative-agriculture journeys and leveraging Regrow Ag's platform to track and reduce supply chain emissions, these companies are raising the bar for transparent, data-driven marketing in line with a flourishing future.

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