Monday, September 26, 2011

Horizon Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The leading organic dairy brand in the U.S. is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2011 and reflecting on its growth from a small organic yogurt brand to not only the top-selling organic milk brand in the U.S., but the top-selling milk brand, conventional or organic.

“Over the past 20 years, Horizon has grown its network of family farmers from seven to more than 600, and helped create and grow the organic dairy category,” said Mike Ferry, Horizon president. “While we are proud to celebrate these achievements throughout our 20th anniversary year, we are also marking the occasion by reaffirming our commitment to sustainable agriculture, to advancing the organic movement and to our family farmer partners.” 

Horizon's story began in 1991 in Boulder, CO, when two veterans of the natural food industry saw a potential market in organic yogurt.  After launching 6 flavors of yogurt, however, it became increasingly clear that the real opportunity lay in producing organic milk.  As there were very few organic milk options available at the time to consumers, Horizon aimed to open up that part of the market.  Over the next twenty years, their idea became a huge success.  Here is a chronology of Horizon's major milestones:
  • 1993: Half gallons of Horizon organic milk are launched, leading to a boom in demand from retailers and consumers.
  • 1994: Horizon becomes the first national organic dairy brand, in part to offer consumers an alternative following the FDA’s approval of the use of rBGH in conventional dairy cattle.
  • 1995: The brand expands the organic dairy category with the introduction of the first organic sour cream, half and half and butter products.
  • 1998: Horizon goes public on the NASDAQ, reinforcing the idea that good organic companies can accelerate their growth and support local farmers at the same time, while meeting consumer demand for quality organic dairy products.
  • 1999: The first national Horizon ad campaign is launched, which is also the first national organic campaign of any kind, helping to create demand for
  • 2001: Horizon introduces the Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) program to help farmers transition to organic, provide organic farmers with information on topics important to their business and support organizations that benefit family farms and the environment.
  • 2001: Horizon introduces the first shelf-stable milk boxes. Since their introduction, they have become a staple in millions of U.S. households.
  • 2002: The USDA National Organic Program regulations become law. Horizon has since worked hard to advocate for and strengthen the regulations.
  • 2003: A long-term relationship with Farm Aid is initiated. Since 2003, Horizon has donated $375,000 to the organization to help keep family farmers on their land.
  • 2004: Horizon acquired by Dean Foods (NYSE: DF).
  • 2004: Horizon becomes part of WhiteWave Foods, a division of Dean Foods.
  • 2005: Horizon begins purchasing renewable wind energy certificates from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset 100 percent of the electricity used to manufacture its products at its company-owned plants, an investment which to date is the equivalent of removing nearly 14,000 passenger vehicles from the road each year.
  • 2007: The brand launches the first organic milk with plant-bas
  • 2007: Horizon launches its Standards of Care, detailing its livestock and farm management practices and beliefs, which were developed in collaboration with organic industry partners and reviewed by the non-profit organization Conservation International.
  • 2010: Horizon reports that it kept 18 million pounds of pesticides off farming land that year thanks to its organic practices.
  • 2011: Horizon introduces the first fat-free organic milk with plant-based Omega-3 DHA, as well as 1% milk boxes with reduced fat, calories and sugar.
Today, there are over 50 USDA-certified organic dairy products carrying the Horizon logo. All Horizon organic products are produced in strict adherence with the USDA organic regulations, without the use of added growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics, and also continue to be made without genetically modified organisms, artificial colors or flavors.Throughout its history, Horizon has been committed to being transparent about its business and farming practices. To that end, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Horizon is introducing a new Horizon Organic Stewardship resource that will be updated regularly, providing facts and data on the company and its dairy farms, including its more than 600 family farmers and its two company-owned farms. The full document is available at organic milk – and opportunities for organic dairy farmers. ed Omega-3 DHA. Since then, Horizon has added more than 370 family farmers to its network.

Read the full article here.

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