APAC’s organic challenges: Poor branding and policing threatens to undermine industry and confuse consumers
Boasting 28 years of operations, Nature’s Glory operates both online and offline businesses, and claims to be the ‘organic and macrobiotic pioneer in Asia besides Japan’.
Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia about challenges that the firm has faced in the Asia Pacific region as an organic specialist, Nature’s Glory Director Christopher Lim said that how the organic industry has been portrayed in the media had been a major constraint for their growth.
“[Media reports] branding organic ‘the same as non-organic’ [have done] nothing but confuse consumers about the goodness and value of organic, not only for health but also the environment,” he told us.
“[In contrast], when we spoke out regarding genetic food modifications which potentially have a strong impact on environment and human health [a few years back], we were told to remove the article and not to speak about it, or scare people.”
In addition, Lim said that the ‘lack of policing’ in the organic industry within APAC was also a significant challenge for firms like theirs who strive to remain 100% organic.
“This [lack of policing has led to the rise of] false organic marketers. [This, in addition] to other challenges such as competition with the global market via e-commerce and a lack of manpower, are [some of the more severe limitations we see].”
Nature’s Glory is based in Singapore, and also retails in Indonesia and Malaysia, and is looking to expand to ‘other countries in APAC’ as well, although Lim declined to reveal further details on this.
According to Lim, Nature’s Glory is best known for its organic food range and fresh produce.
Under the firm’s own branding, these range from gluten-free sauce options such as the Nature’s Glory Tamari (Wheat-free) to healthy snack options such as Nature’s Glory Black Sesame Brown Rice Crackers.
“We have also recently developed several healthier options such as our own organic vegan soy gelato with reduced sugar, suitable for the lactose intolerant, as well as a Hainanese mutton soup which includes organic herbs.”
Certification and sustainability
When it comes to certification, the firm has spared no expense in ascertaining its organic credibility.
“A majority of our organic products have been certified by The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) to meet Australian and International organic standards, which also conform to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM),” said Lim.
“[This proves that] the products are not only grown sustainably without pesticides or use of GMOs, they are also transported and stored organically (without chemicals or fumigation).”
According to the firm’s website, it also promises 24/7 storage at cool temperatures, radiation testing, contaminant testing, microwave-free and non-GMO for its products.
“[We also reduce plastic usage by] recycling our glass packaging and refilling [certain products such as] our organic soaps into existing containers,” said Lim.
“We are looking at further biodegradable options to reduce [plastic] use in our packaging, [as well as at] reducing the carbon footprint by using more efficient machinery, air conditioning etc.”
Moving forward, Nature’s Glory believes that energy may be the key to differentiating themselves from all other organic competitors in the market.
“For the last 12 years, we have been researching into the field of energy - Our Nano Energy Boosters (NEB) patch technology using [natural, healthy] frequencies are now being explored in many fields, including pest control and their effects on health,” said Lim.
Nature’s Glory was part of the SEAsia Cafe Expo and Equip&Dine Asia show in Singapore.