Gerber expands sustainability goals to test potential nutritional benefits of regenerative agriculture, further reduce carbon emissions

As part of Gerber’s Climate Forward ambition, the company is undertaking “unprecedented research”​ in which demonstration farms, managed by the Rodale Institute and Michigan State University, will compare the impact of regenerative and traditional farming techniques on soil health, biodiversity and the potential for nutritional benefits, Emily Johannes, Gerber’s senior manager of sustainable sourcing, told FoodNavigator-USA.

She explained that beyond the research farms, Gerber is working with suppliers to encourage the adoption and documentation of regenerative farming practices through a process that will be overseen and verified by Sustainable Environmental Consultants’ EcoPractices platform, which will enable the company to evaluate the impact of regenerative agriculture on soil, the environment and nutrition at a larger scale.

“We’re also assessing the environmental impact of our new product innovations, and introducing more products with plant-based protein across the baby food portfolio”​ to further reduce and eliminate carbon emissions, Johannes added.

“We feel that plant-based products are a part of that equation and this actually links up to Nestle’s overall Net Zero Roadmap, which we published in December 2020, and includes an ambition to expand plant-based offerings to help address the Net Zero goals and carbon emission reduction goals,”​ Johannes explained.

While Gerber recognizes the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans note it can be challenging for very young children to meet all of their nutrient needs with a vegan or completely plant-based diet, and recommends that parents considering this diet work with their pediatricians, it adds that plant-based foods such as beans, peas, lentils and whole grains are nutrient-dense foods and “great choices for all young children because they add diversity and key nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet.”

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