What Does it Mean to Ethically Source Ingredients?

In recent years, the demand for ethically sourced and sustainable products has dramatically increased. According to a Nielsen survey, 55% of global respondents have valued brands with environmentally and socially ethical business practices, so much so that they’re willing to pay more for ethically sourced products.

But claiming your nutrition bar is made with ethically sourced ingredients carries more weight than a simple claim to entice a new market. When ethical sourcing is practiced in the right way, energy bar companies can greatly benefit from the process.

What is Ethical Sourcing?

Ethical sourcing is a responsible and sustainable approach to sourcing and supply chain management. It’s the process of confirming that the ingredients being sourced are procured ethically and sustainably, ensuring that workers involved in the production are treated fairly and operate in a safe environment.

Ethical sourcing also means that the procurement process considers social and environmental factors, and adheres to the international standards against human rights abuses and criminal conduct. A supply chain must be free of unacceptable practices like human trafficking, fraud, modern-day slavery, corruption, and child labor in order to qualify.

Why Ethical Sourcing is Important for Nutrition Bar Brands

There is no doubt that ethical sourcing provides an excellent opportunity to gain a potential advantage over competitors in the nutrition bar market, but it can also help to reduce business risks.

The nutrition bar industry can be complex, often involving multiple tiers of suppliers. Without a sound ethical sourcing strategy, you could be indirectly supporting suppliers connected to inadequate health and safety practices, environmental exploitation, and unethical labor issues such as modern slavery and child labor.

Here are some other reasons why placing a priority on ethical sourcing is good for your nutrition bar business.

Consumers are Demanding Ethically Sourced Ingredients as the Norm

Now more than ever there is demand by consumers for ethically produced products. A few years ago, companies emphasized their commitment to ethical sourcing practices to stand out from the competition. But today’s consumers are savvy shoppers, and many put in the time and commitment to understand where the products they buy come from and how they are made.

recent study found that more than two-thirds of Americans consider sustainability when making a purchase, with 47% of shoppers willing to pay more for a sustainable product. This is true in the food market, too. In 2021, trends show that brands who don’t put an emphasis on sustainable and ethical ingredients will not be tolerated by consumers.

Ethical Sourcing Benefits the Suppliers

Besides making consumers feel good about their choices and where they are spending their money, ethical sourcing also significantly benefits the suppliers.

For example, manufacturers that work with suppliers and small farmers to achieve organic and sustainable production support the farmers’ communities by funding community projects and paying fair market prices. In return, these suppliers have demonstrated their commitment to upholding ethical sourcing best practices of worker safety, food quality and safety, sustainable production, environmental protection, fair treatment, and community support.

Nutrition bar brands that invest in sustainable and ethical sourcing chains put in place a repeatable and healthy process for acquiring the ingredients they need, and supporting their workers.

Ethical Sourcing Enhances Integrity in Business Practices

Transparency, integrity, and accountability are significant components of a supply chain. That’s why businesses should have systems in place to ensure each member is adhering to the agreed upon ethical sourcing standards.

One way to uphold integrity is to work with co-packers and private label servicers that practice ethical sourcing and, if possible, agree on ethical sourcing best practices as part of the contract. Brands should also ensure they have the right certifications, such as the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, to ensure that only ethically sourced ingredients are procured and handled by trained food safety professionals at every stage of the development process.

Ethical Sourcing Results in Healthy and Sustainable Ingredients

Ethically sourced ingredients are healthy and sustainable because farmers who practice these values take into consideration the environmental impact of their farming activities. While also being a bonus for many consumers, using these ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients allows these farmers to continue their businesses and grow more great ingredient options.

Nutrition bar companies that only use ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients produce bars that have more nutrients, better texture, and improved flavor resulting in great-tasting, exceptional products.

Implementing Ethical Sourcing in Your Supply Chain

As a nutrition bar brand, using ethically sourced ingredients can enhance your product, give you a greater competitive advantage, boost supplier relationships, improve brand loyalty, and create greater transparency in the supply chain.

A complete ethical sourcing strategy means that every aspect of your production – whether working with co-packers, private label servicers, or in-house manufacturing teams – hold the right certifications and capabilities and adhere to ethical sourcing best practices.