Why chain of custody is so important for ethical organic products

From being a lifestyle choice for a small percentage of consumers, organic foodstuffs and functional products are shifting towards the mainstream. While millennials are credited for driving growth in this sector, the perception that organic products are better-for-you still resonates with consumers.

Organic market development depends on strong and enforceable standards that underpin organic certification. This, coupled to the belief that organic agricultural practices can play a role in mitigating climate change, will continue to drive growth but collaboration and activism will result in new initiatives and product development.

Sales of food and beverage organic products in the US reached $52.5 billion in 2018, up 6.3% from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey by US-based organic watchdog, OTA. Organic food sales increased 5.9% to $47.9 billion, outpacing total food sales at 2.3%. [1]

The UK has also seen a continuation of a decade of growth, with 4.5% recorded in 2019 alone. The major disruption of 2020 and 2021 was undoubtedly COVID-19, which resulted in a myriad of new opportunities in all food channels, but especially organic products. The pandemic fundamentally changed the way many people view food, beverages, and supplements. This fact was echoed in market acceleration during 2020 with growth of 6.1% – almost double that of non-organic food and drink products (3.2%) for the year ending May 2020.[2]

The food service sector was one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy during the global Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. As such, there was a marked increase in food purchases for home use. Economically, this afforded shoppers the opportunity to indulge in higher quality and premium item lines – including best sellers such as chilled convenience food and milk alternatives. These changes in shopping behaviour are partly why the organic sector exceeded targets of £2.5bn set for 2020.


A massive challenge facing manufacturers of organic ingredients and products is managing global supply chains, especially when raw ingredients are sourced overseas. Maintaining the integrity of a product’s origin is closely linked to transparency and chain of custody. This is a critical step in the supply chain and impacts brands’ credibility and reputation. In this sense, traceability is a key issue to ensure the correct provenance of ingredients and final products.

Novastell’s next level organic ingredients

The scope for organic ingredient innovation for use in the processed food and beverage market is massive and functional ingredients such as Novastell’s Puredia Tibetan Sea Buckhorn is in high demand. Harvested from small orange berries rich in oil, vitamins and antioxidants, the health properties of Sea Buckthorn have been highlighted in traditional Asian medicine for centuries.

Puredia’s SeaBerry® range is produced from Sea Buckthorn grown and harvested in Tibet, at an altitude more than 4 800m. The preserved environment of Tibetan mountains and the harsh climatic conditions associated with high altitude contribute to the production of unique Sea Buckthorn products, devoid of contaminants with the highest content of nutrients and active components.

Tibetan SeaBerry® is incomparable to any other Sea Buckthorns in the world; organic, Halal and Kosher certified, and suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets. Available in a standardised format, its omega-7 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin C. are suitable for drink formulations, water dispersible powder blends and dry food supplement forms.

Carla Felgueiras, global product manager ingredients at Novastell explains: “These products are all organically certified according to the European organic agriculture regulations. This range is composed of different oils and powders which can be formulated in beauty-fromwithin food supplements.”

Novastell also offers organic lecithin (from soybean and sunflower, both in fluid and powder forms) as a functional food additive for organic food producers. “We can also provide natural tocopherols as antioxidants and natural vitamin E suitable to be incorporated in organic products. These ingredients are intended to be incorporated in organic foods. Our nutritional and functional bioactive ingredients, specialty oils, active plant-based molecules, natural vitamin E and mixed tocopherols are healthy and efficient molecules for use during product development,” Felgueiras says.

As a subsidiary of the Avril Group, the first and unique lecithin producer in France, Novastell offers several grades, specifications coupled with complete traceability of sunflower, rapeseed, and soy lecithin to provide customers with the finest solutions for their process. This extends to organic ingredient solutions too.