Cross-pollinating with Whole Foods
General Mills has been working to protect bees and their habitats for years. We’ve created a sanctuary for bees at our research farm in Le Sueur, Minn., and established bee-friendly habitats on 10 Minnesota farms and next to Muir Glen tomato fields in California. We’ve also begun funding a 700-acre almond orchard near Fresno, Calif., to produce bee-friendly almonds.
Beginning this month, our Cascadian Farm brand is leveraging our bee-friendly good deeds to promote some cross-pollination with Whole Foods Market.
In April, Cascadian Farm introduced Buzz Crunch Honey Almond cereal exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. With every package sold, Cascadian Farm will donate $1 to the The Xerces Society, an Oregon-based nonprofit and one of the primary leaders in pollinator conservation.
“Ninety percent of Cascadian Farm’s volume is dependent on bees,” says Taylor West, a Small Planet Foods marketing manager for Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen. “So we care a great deal about saving the bees, whose numbers have dwindled in the past eight years due to a variety of factors such as pesticide use, loss of habitat and disease.”
Cascadian Farm and Whole Foods found some common ground in working to save bees. Representatives from the two companies as well as the Xerces Society collaborated on the issue, meeting last August at a 700-acre almond orchard near Fresno, Calif. “We all shared a common passion for supporting and preserving bees,” says Taylor.
For the past four years, General Mills has worked with the Xerces Society on a growing number of projects geared toward promoting bees and their habitat.
But Cascadian Farm has been doing so even longer.
The original 28-acre farm in Washington that started the Cascadian Farm brand has long fostered a healthy native bee population. The Home Farm relies on bees to pollinate its blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pumpkins.
In all, 100,000 boxes of Buzz Crunch Honey Almond cereal will include the special $1 donation to the Xerces Society, meaning Cascadian Farm could provide up to $100,000.
The packaging of Buzz Crunch Honey Almond cereal serves as a bee tutorial, filled with facts about the importance of bees. The box notes that without bees and pollination, there would be 64 percent fewer items in a grocery store’s produce section.
Taylor says Cascadian Farm hopes to educate consumers about what’s happening to the bees and inspire them to take action. He promises that this is just the beginning.
Cascadian Farm will continue to promote the new cereal and its cause for bees at upcoming Whole Foods-related events. On May 17, brand representatives will provide cereal samples at the Whole Foods-sponsored EarthFest concert in Boston.
Throughout June, Cascadian Farm representatives will be at many of Whole Foods’ stores during the retailer’s “Share the Buzz” in-store promotion for the bee cause. Cascadian Farm will sample many products, including Buzz Crunch Honey Almond cereal. The team also will distribute seed packets in five states.
“At Cascadian Farm we believe in working with nature as an ally,” says Taylor. “The issue with bees is about more than honey. It’s about fruits and vegetables and our food supply. The Xerces promotion on our new cereal is another small step that can make a big difference.”