Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF) was originally founded as IMI Global in 1995 with a focus around traceability in the livestock industry. Then, in 2006, founders John and Leann Saunders pushed the company to diversify, and WFCF acquired additional businesses to round out its certification portfolio and IMI Global became one of their many divisions.
Next, the Castle Rock, CO-based company acquired two organic certification companies with long, rich, histories—International Certification Services (ICS) and A Bee Organic. Their expertise and history in organic certification gave the company the foundation for rebranding "A Bee Organic" to "Where Food Comes From Organic" in August of 2020.
Vinodthan Nayagar, director, WFCF Organic
“We are offering organic growers a streamlined certification process,” said Vinodthan Nayagar, director of WFCF Organic. “We understand that growers would like to spend more time raising livestock and growing crops, so we developed a user-friendly online platform to help growers with their organic certification needs. Our team of specially trained certification specialists also spend time walking the organic growers through each step of the certification process to help them achieve their organic certification.”
WFCF's mission is to create opportunities through transparency for food producers and consumers.
“And at WFCF Organic, we strive to make certification accessible to everyone that is seeking it and make sure that they receive world-class customer service with that service,” Nayagar said.
The company’s biggest stride in the fresh produce category has been through its SureHarvest division.
The SureHarvest division offers consulting and technology solutions
“They provide consulting and technology solutions, so brands and producers are able to track sustainability metrics and make management decisions accordingly, continuously improve these metrics and their sustainability journey while also communicating those metrics to consumers,” said Leann Saunders, president of Where Food Comes From, Inc. “We are excited to pair those services with our WFCF Organic division as well.”
While input costs for farmers and ranchers continue to rise, pricing to consumers hasn’t risen at the same pace and that creates the biggest challenge for the company.
“Farming and ranching is extremely difficult, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to pass farms and ranches to the next generation,” Saunders said. “It is a 24/7 lifestyle that requires commitment with, at times, little appreciation for the role they play in feeding consumers. Also, a general lack of understanding about how food is grown at the consumer level is a challenge for growers.”
According to Nayagar, another challenge is a decrease in farming land because of erosion or loss or a shift in generational interest.
Leann Saunders, president, Where Food Comes From, Inc.
“Many farms get sold because the current generation doesn’t know how to farm, or it’s too intense for them, so they often put the farm for sale once their parents get too old to farm,” he said.
Still, the company knows that there are plentiful opportunities ahead in the organic sector and is excited about the recent rebranding to Where Food Comes From Organic.
“We are so excited to rebrand because it has allowed us to expand our team of certification specialists and inspectors, which in turn streamlines our customers’ certification process and improves their customer service experience,” Saunders said. “The organic process is tough, so we are eager to implement these process changes for them, not to mention our flat-rate pricing is brand new to the industry.”
Additionally, WFCF's customers have access to numerous standards that they’re able to bundle with organic, all done by the WFCF team, which adds value to the organic growers.
WFCF organic label
"WFCF Organic is so important because we are providing organic certification to food manufacturers, livestock and crop producers,” Nayagar said. “These operations depend on their organic certification and that allows them to keep their products on store shelves, and, most importantly, this is their livelihood.”
In the months and years ahead, the company will continue to provide a simple process and affordable services to the organic certification industry.
“We would like as many manufactures, crop and livestock producers using our online technology platform, SOW Organic, which allows clients to streamline their certification while also being very user-friendly,” Nayagar said. “SOW Organic accommodates those that produce bulk and retail products.”