Minneapolis-based General Mills announced plans to accelerate its commitment to more than double the organic acreage from which it sources ingredients. The company now expects to meet its goal of 250,000 acres by 2019. 

The increased acreage is directly linked to the company’s goals to grow net sales from its natural and organic products.

“To achieve the growth we anticipate for our natural and organic brands, we will need a more robust pipeline of organic growers,” says John Church, executive vice president, supply chain. “We’re building strategic relationships directly with farmers for our products, and are dedicated to working with growers to optimize production and quality, adopt standard practices and accelerate supply.”

General Mills has made sizeable investments to meet growing consumer interest in natural and organic foods.

Since 2009, General Mills has increased the organic acreage it supports by 120% and is now said to be among the Top 5 organic ingredient purchasers—and the second largest buyer of organic fruits and vegetables—in the North American packaged food sector.

Over the years, General Mills has also acquired a portfolio of natural and organic brands, including Cascadian Farm, Annie’s and more.

Furthermore, General Mills supports the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s efforts to encourage widespread adoption of organic farming practices through research, advocacy and education. General Mills also participates alongside other organic companies in the Organic Trade Association’s Grain, Pulse and Oilseed Council, an industry forum working in a pre-competitive effort to increase the supply of organic grain, oilseeds and pulses.

In 2015, General Mills announced a new goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its entire value chain over the next 10 years.