Regenerative agriculture — farming practices such as managed grazing that restore soil health, sequester carbon and protect against natural wear and tear — has been a hot topic in agriculture circles for a few years now. The general public continues to pressure companies to go greener, and companies are figuring out messaging strategies to take the complex concept mainstream.

When Applegate piloted the first nationally available hot dog made with beef raised on verified regenerative U.S. grasslands in 2021, known as the Do Good Dog hot dog, the company learned consumers found the concept of regenerative products “exciting, but confusing,” Carolyn Gahn, senior director of mission and advocacy at Applegate, said in an email. Applying that pilot to its entire beef hot dog portfolio should help remove some of that confusion, she said.

Other large food producers are working on regenerative agriculture, too. Nestlé and Danone, for example, agreed last year on Regenerating Together — a framework for what regenerative agriculture entails. Applegate said in the release that it’s using GRASS (the Generalized Regenerative Agriculture Sourcing Specification), as well as the Textile Exchange’s Regenerative Outcomes Framework for standards on environmental outcomes and animal welfare.

“Regenerative agriculture is very technical and hard for many to understand. That’s why it is very important for us to communicate how it works and most importantly, why it matters in a way that consumers can understand,” Gahn said.

The company also plans to work with its network of more than 250 beef farmers to meet regenerative standards from third-party verification from entities, such as Land to Market.

To help hold itself accountable to meeting those standards and other goals, the company also released its first-ever “Mission Report” Monday — an evaluation of the brand’s agricultural impacts over the last year. Gahn said the report will also help Applegate’s messaging around regenerative agriculture stay consistent.

“Our goal is to use the report in full and translate it into other pieces of content at retail, on social, and other external channels to help communicate what regenerative agriculture means to us in a way that makes sense to our consumers” Gahn said.

According to the report, the organic meat brand had more than 4,000 farms in its supply chain in 2023. Around 12 million animals were raised on farms that meet standards established by the Global Animal Partnership, or standards that are Certified Humane. Applegate also said it reduced its pesticide use by 220,000 pounds, saved 480,000 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer from being lost to water, and avoided 51,000 tons of soil loss.

Click here for more Industry News.