By: Trish Kelly, Left Coast Naturals Brand Manager
As the Brand Manager at Left Coast Naturals, I spend a good chunk of my day working on projects that aren’t terribly sexy, like negotiating promotional activity with our brands, and analysing data. But I’m also lucky enough to be part of the process of assessing what new products Left Coast Naturals might decide to distribute. In the past, this decision would have been made by Ian Walker, our president and trend spotter extraordinaire. As our company has grown, and Ian is busy with many other presidential duties, we’ve been trying to download his spide-y sense into a procurement evaluation process that will allow others in our organization to search for the next big natural foods thing.
At the same time, we’ve been trying to formalize our values around sustainability so that we ensure that new products we decide to list are falling in line with what we say we want to be, which is the home for sustainable brands in Western Canada. Some lines are easy to draw. For example, our Non-GMO Policy means that all new products we list must be evaluated for potential GMOs. For us, this has become a threshold, a go/no go point for evaluating new products.
To ensure we stay on track, we have developed a sustainability checklist, which helps us evaluate not just the thresholds, but also compare potential brands. In the checklist, a brand gets points for sustainability attributes it embodies. We look for certifications such as certified organic, fair trade, and Non-GMO Project Verified.
Of course we have some criteria that don’t relate to sustainability – if a really sustainable product tastes terrible or can’t be offered at a price the market will bear, we won’t be able to sell it. But for us at Left Coast, we are committed to being good people providing good food, so we give high points to brands who try to make this a better planet too.
If you have a product you make, or that you’ve spotted on a shopping trip and think might be a good fit, send me a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org