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Sustainability Commitment Update: Nature’s Path Foods

Six Month Update


At Nature’s Path we aspire to advance the cause of people and planet, along the path to sustainability. Growing organic, healthy foods in a sustainable way is our passion—the cornerstone of our family company. It’s where, and how, it all began.

All of Nature’s Path’s products are USDA certified organic, and we believe that organic foods are healthier for both our customers and the environment. Organic agriculture reduces overall exposure to toxic chemicals and provides the foundation for healthy living soil and a livelihood for good stewards of the land.

While organic agriculture is at the root of our business, it just one piece of the puzzle that we’re working on in meeting the rising internal and external expectations to push the boundaries of sustainability. We are committed to constant innovation, efficiency and waste reduction. We offer many of our cereals in innovative, eco-friendly packaging alternatives – Eco-Pacs and EnviroBoxes – that benefit the environment as well as the customer.

Packing our products in this way saves significant amounts of paperboard, energy and wastewater each year and even allows us to take tractor trailers off the road. While want to improve the world in a big way, we also know that the path to significant change is often paved through careful attention to opportunities large and small. For these reasons, in January 2010 we challenged ourselves to completely redesign our granola box to make it as small as possible.



The idea for exactly how much smaller we could possibly make the box came to us when we looked at how large a bar really was and made a box that would just accommodate that size. We tried to step outside our existing set of assumptions around market expectations and machine capabilities and proceeded to build models based on what seemed reasonable to us.

We tried various ways of placing the bars in the box using floral foam as a stand in for the actual bars and went from there. When the plant operations team and others saw how small we had made the box, they were inspired to see how tightly they could work and still use machines to stuff boxes. Ultimately, the box came down in size by nearly a third from what it had been and we saved quite a lot of resources and increased efficiencies.

The bars project was a case of various teams inspiring each other to push the limits of what had been done previously and what we could do if we tried to push ourselves. All in all, quite a victory for sustainable package design.



  • - Proving good things really do come in small packages, the new bar packaging uses 36% less cardboard, saving 472,000 gallons of water and 46 tons of waste yearly.
  • - The new packaging saves the equivalent of about 1028 trees per year. The energy conserved as a result of the EnviroBox redesign is the equivalent of about 38 homes per year, and reduces greenhouse gases by the equivalent of about 42 cars per year.
  • - We have reduced overall packaging (including bar wraps, paperboard and shipping board) by 29% without reducing the net weight of the product in 7 of our flavors.
  • - We have gone from fitting 120 cases per pallet to fitting 196 cases per pallet: a 39% improvement in efficiency.
  • - Because we have greatly reduced the number of pallets used, we have managed to reduce the number of trucks on the road per year by 39%.
  • - Our new packages also improve retail shelf efficiency by 11%; for every 8 facings you get one extra box on the shelf.
  • - The paperboard used to make the granola bar box is 100% recycled with 60% post-consumer content, but the board is now FSC certified .

While many of our sustainability initiatives are generated internally, we also look to our engaged group of conscious consumers for their constructive feedback. Here is one of the comments our customer made about our repackaging:

“Way to go on the smaller box packaging! So nice to see a company efficiently using resources. You are brave to go against the mass consumer mentality in favor of moving towards a more sustainable consumerism! I am impressed and hooked.”

The repackaging has not only been successful in terms of furthering our commitment to the environment, but has also resulted in a substantial increase in sales. These achievements are all but stepping stones on a path to continual improvement as we aim to leave the earth better than we found it. For more information on our journey, please visit the sustainability section of our website at