From a Humble Pear Farm to Organic Snack Royalty

Picture this: 25 years ago, a small pear farm in the stunning Mt. Hood region of Oregon began a journey that would eventually turn it into a powerhouse in the world of organic dried fruits. Today, this company has expanded its reach, with growers and production centers in California’s lush San Joaquin Valley and corporate operations headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. But it’s not just their geographical expansion that sets them apart; it’s their unwavering dedication to the organic ethos.

At the heart of their success is a simple yet powerful philosophy: going all-in on organic. They’ve drawn a clear line in the sand, committing to organic practices in every aspect of their operation. Their certified organic farms, which supply the company, proudly shun synthetic preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Moreover, they ensure their snacks are not only organic but also free of artificial additives, colors, and flavors, firmly embodying the “real-food” philosophy. In a world where food labels seem to carry warnings about all sorts of chemicals, Made in Nature is all about keeping it real.

Tim Abernathy, the Continuous Improvement Manager at Made in Nature, asks a thought-provoking question: when did the word “snack” become tainted? To him, it’s the best word in the English language. And he’s on a mission to remind us all of what real food is. Made in Nature’s goal is simple yet profound: return to the basics, where food comes straight from the earth without meddling with added sugars or unnecessary additives. They firmly believe that fruit is fruit, and they aim to keep it that way.

Their product lineup is a delightful journey through the world of organic snacking. From dried fruits to coconut chips and unique vegetable or fig snack balls affectionately called ‘pops,’ they offer a variety of flavors, all elegantly packaged in gusseted stand-up pouches. And let’s not forget their kale chips, available in a range of mouthwatering flavors, presented in clamshell-style containers. For those on the move, they offer convenient 30 to 60-gram servings in retail-ready, reinforced cases.

Building a wholesome Brand Presence

Made in Nature proudly operates under its own label, placing a premium on building its brand identity rather than resorting to co-packaging or private labeling. Their packaging options cater to all needs, from the smallest 30-gram dried mango and 60-gram snack packs to larger 800-gram to 1.2-kilogram bags available in major retailers like Costco and other prominent stores. Notably, their 30- and 60-gram foil bags are designed for easy display in retail settings, perfect for those looking for an on-the-go organic snack.

While Made in Nature has a strong online retail presence via platforms like Amazon and their own e-commerce channels, they’ve also made significant inroads into the brick-and-mortar world. You can find their products in major retailers like Walmart and Target, as well as in the bulk-sized sections of Costco. What’s even more impressive is their recent breakthrough into convenience stores, with 7-Eleven now featuring their wholesome snacks.

The shift towards healthier, real-food options in convenience stores aligns perfectly with Made in Nature’s mission. As parents, they understand the struggle of finding nutritious snacks for their children amid the sea of sugary processed options. It’s a small revolution, but one that’s changing the way we snack.

But maintaining the sanctity of their brand isn’t easy. As they’ve grown, they’ve had to meet the stringent requirements of major retailers. Walmart, Target, and Costco have rightfully imposed rigorous quality checks. To secure their spot on those shelves, Made in Nature had to ensure their products were free of post-processing contamination, with a critical control point (CCP) in their packaging line dedicated to this purpose. They also had to implement quality assurance (QA) measures to track and report package weights accurately.

HACCP in ready-to-eat-meal industry

Elevating product safety and quality control: Made in Nature’s partnership with Mekitec

Beyond traditional metal detection, Made in Nature wanted to take product safety to the next level. They sought a solution that could detect non-ferrous foreign objects like glass or rocks. This is where the MEKI X-ray and checkweighing systems from Mekitec came into play. Over the first year, they invested in three of these advanced systems.

What makes the MEKI systems remarkable is their ability to not only detect foreign objects but also aid in investigations to prevent future occurrences. When a foreign object is spotted, whether it’s a rock, bolt, or washer, Tim Abernathy and his team can trace it back to its source and take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This level of control and safety has been a game-changer for Made in Nature.

Abernathy, with his 25 years of experience in the food industry, is impressed by the MEKI systems’ compact yet powerful performance. He praises their reliability since installation, highlighting their crucial role in maintaining Made in Nature’s commitment to quality and safety. What’s more, the Mekitec systems offer an attractive price point, making advanced technology accessible to companies like Made in Nature.

The portability and flexibility of these systems have further simplified their integration into production lines, allowing for swift adjustments to meet changing production demands. In a world where data reigns supreme, the MEKI systems have empowered Made in Nature with real-time production data, helping them stay ahead of the game.

Pioneering organic excellence in snack production

Made in Nature’s remarkable journey from a small pear farm to a flourishing organic dried fruit producer is a testament to their unwavering commitment to organic purity. Their dedication to providing wholesome, real-food options is resonating with health-conscious consumers, and their partnership with Mekitec ensures the highest standards of product safety and quality.

In a world where food purity is paramount, Made in Nature stands as a shining example of how real food should be enjoyed, uncompromised by artificial additives or preservatives. So, the next time you reach for a snack, remember the story of Made in Nature.

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