Responding to double-digit growth in the fastest growing retail food category, the Organic Produce Network (OPN) was founded in January, 2017, to connect facets of the organic produce community through education, information and live events.
Produce industry veterans Matt Seeley, former vice president of marketing for The Nunes Company, and Tonya Antle, former vice president of organic sales for Earthbound Farm, are co-founders of the company.
OPN is being designed as the voice and go-to resource for all things related to organic produce. The company's mission is to inform and educate through a strong digital presence with an emphasis on original content, and complimented by engaging live events which bring together various components of the organic food community.
OPN is an informal online network providing critical and timely information such as news, updates, statistics and historical benchmarks to those in the organic fresh produce business. OPN will also provide live and online learning and networking opportunities. The OPN target audience is organic producers, handlers, distributors, processors, wholesalers, foodservice operators and retailers.
The OPN website and weekly digital newsletter OPN Connect will feature topical and relevant content related to organic fresh produce, with a special emphasis on thought-provoking commentary and analysis from leaders and influencers in the organic produce and food arena.
There is a clear gap in industry-focused resources that inform, educate and even inspire all constituents about the value and also the values of organic," said co-founder and executive vice president, Tonya Antle. "As pointed out in the 2015 Deloitte Food Value Survey, the reason organic produce is such a robustly growing category is because it sits squarely in the sweet spot for evolving consumer value drivers: health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience, and transparency. There's a continuum of consumers who buy organic produce and they're moving along that continuum at a faster rate than ever before and this impacts what they expect from the companies that provide their organic produce," Antle pointed out.
"The organic fresh produce community is energized about the opportunity to help change the way we eat and with that, change our health outlook," says co-founder and CEO, Matt Seeley. "We believe that OPN can become the modern high-tech, and high-touch, source of new information, ideas, and inspiration for continued organic produce growth, "Seeley added.
The lack of having a unified voice or resource dedicated exclusively to the multi-billion dollar organic produce industry was also a driving factor in making OPN a reality.
"Those of us who provide organic produce constitute the largest segment of the organic food business but this segment often lacks the voice it deserves in either organic-focused or produce-focused organizations. The OPN will be that strong voice, a trusted resource that connects us all through information, education and networking events," Antle said.