Simple Mills adds ‘farmer-forward’ regenerative ag platform

Simple Mills adds ‘farmer-forward’ regenerative ag platform

CHICAGO — Along with the announcement that it more than doubled retail sales during the last three years, Simple Mills, a baker of better-for-you crackers, cookies, bars and baking mixes, said it is strengthening its work with farmers through a new regenerative agriculture engagement tool.

The Chicago-based company originally was founded to make clean, nutrient-dense foods easy and accessible, according to Simple Mills. From 2019 to 2022, its brand experienced “momentous growth” in retail sales. During that time the company also adjusted its mission to include planetary health, stating all future innovation will advance regenerative agriculture.

“I started Simple Mills in 2012 with a brazen vision of helping people feel better through purposeful, nutrient-dense food that easily fit into their lives and didn’t ask them to sacrifice flavor for health,” said Katlin Smith, founder and chief executive officer of Simple Mills. “But as the business grew, I realized human health can’t truly exist without considering the health of our planet. I became interested in regenerative agriculture and how we can use food as a force for both human and planetary health.

“We took a significant leap in evolving our mission and making a commitment that 100% of product innovation moving forward will help advance regenerative farming principles — but what’s most exciting is how consumers and retailers are responding. We’re experiencing growth and recognition unlike anything we’ve seen since our founding and are excited to continue amplifying our people and planet-forward mission in 2023 and beyond.”

The company said it is working with suppliers to provide greater transparency to on-farm practices through its regenerative agriculture engagement tool. The proprietary interactive platform gathers data from farmers about specific practices used throughout the supply chain. It also serves as a “farmer-forward” resource by prompting reflection on ways growers already are implementing regenerative principles and highlighting opportunities to expand their approach in the future, Simple Mills said.

With its focus on planetary health, the company said it will utilize three product innovation pathways: 1) design for diverse ingredients, 2) direct trade with farmers, and 3) invest in regional adoption of regenerative agriculture principles for key ingredients. One hundred percent of Simple Mills product innovation will advance regenerative agriculture through at least one of these pathways, the company said.

“Our commitment to a product design framework that connects our regenerative agriculture initiatives to our innovation pipeline is at the heart of our vision,” said Christina Skonberg, director of sustainability and mission. “The three innovation pathways guide our product development process, and our programming allows us to gain visibility to the farm-level practices and associated impacts to our value chains, which is critically important for creating products that are better for consumers and the planet.

“We’re especially excited about our improved regenerative agriculture engagement tool, as it’s an incredible way to gain insight and visibility into ingredients throughout our supply chain, identify partnership opportunities to scale regenerative principles, and serve as a resource to farmers and suppliers who are interested in deepening their commitment to the health of the land.”

To support its innovation pipeline, Simple Mills recently opened Sunworks, in Mill Valley, Calif. Sunworks houses the company’s innovation, R&D, and sustainability teams.

In addition to opening the Sunworks facility, Simple Mills has grown its national workforce between 2020 and 2022 by 100%. The company currently employees nearly 100 employees.

Simple Mills products are sold nationwide at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Target, Walmart and Costco. The brand also has an e-commerce presence both on Amazon and its own website.