The Non-GMO Project released that their product sales have hit the $20 billion mark for 2016. That is a 566% increase from their 2013 sales number of $3.0 billion. This is due to consumers becoming more aware of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their need for a stamp of approval that they can trust on their products.
Non-GMO vs. Non-GMO Project Verified
The term “Non-GMO” is still a fresh new term that is causing confusion for consumers and manufacturers. Products are promoting “Non-GMO”, “GMO Free” and “Non-GMO Project Verified” labels on their packaging, but what is the difference?
The main difference that separates these terms is having a third party decide if the product is really Non-GMO. There are quite a few companies that give their own products a Non-GMO label based on their belief on what Non-GMO means. These companies will back up their claim with a “How We Define ‘Non-GMO’” page on their website that goes into more detail, but consumers will need to find this page to get the real answers.
The Non-GMO Project is currently the only third party organization (in North America) that is testing products for GMOs and providing a stamp of approval. Since Non-GMO labels are not regulated by federal government, The Non-GMO Project verifies these products based on their best practices, which includes a GMO presence of less than .09%. So why are consumers and manufacturers attracted to this Non-GMO label?
89% of Americans favor mandatory labels for food products that contain GMOs.
Consumers Trust the Butterfly
With nearly 40,000 products promoting the butterfly logo of approval, many manufacturers are turning to The Non-GMO Project to verify their products for their customers. “We average probably 70 inquiries (for product verification) each week via our website,” stated Megan Westgate, executive director of The Non-GMO Project.
State legislators have been trying to make it mandatory for manufacturers to address GMOs in their products, but nothing is in effect yet. This lack of mandatory labeling is raising concern in consumers and is why many trust The Non-GMO Project verified butterfly logo as a stamp of approval.
Is this a Foxtrot Economy trend?
The demand for Non-GMO Project Verified products has risen every year since 2010 (more significantly in the last three years), but will it last? The Mellman Group, a research company, found that 89% of Americans favor mandatory labels for food products that contain GMOs. With no set government regulations on labeling and a growing demand for Non-GMOs, consumers will continue to need a verification they can trust for their products.
“It’s really about GMO avoidance and having a third party looking at the supply chain and all the critical control points and giving customers and consumers the assurance that we’ve gone through all the steps,”
Bothwell Cheese Explains Why They Wanted Verification
Bothwell Cheese became Canada’s first cheese manufacturer to receive the Non-GMO Project Verified status. Bothwell Cheese saw the growing demand for Non-GMO labeling and knew they needed to follow suit.
“We listen to our customers and what the market is telling us we need,” explained Mike Raftis, vice president of marketing, sales and communications at Bothwell Cheese. “Based on research, there is a recent poll that suggests 9 in 10 Canadians want more GMO labeling and they say that because they want more transparency in their food.”
“It’s really about GMO avoidance and having a third party looking at the supply chain and all the critical control points and giving customers and consumers the assurance that we’ve gone through all the steps,” Raftis continued.
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