Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North America

Non-GMO Verified sales hit $1bn

By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 07-Feb-2012

Related topics: The GM debate, Food labeling and marketing, Markets

Non-GMO Project Verified has become the fastest growing food eco-label in North America, as sales of certified products hit $1bn in 2011, according to findings unveiled at Organic Monitor’s Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco last month.

The $1bn figure is from SPINS, a market research and consulting firm for the Natural Products Industry. However, it does not include foods sold at Whole Foods or Walmart, so is likely to underestimate the total sales figure by a wide margin – especially considering that Whole Foods’ 365 private label range is Non-GMO certified.

Products carrying the seal are subject to ongoing testing to ensure that at-risk ingredients do not contain any genetically modified (GM) material, among other measures.

“Consumers are more aware of which food products most often contain GMOs, and the movement to label those products as such, whether voluntarily or mandated by the FDA with an official seal, is picking up momentum,” SPINS said in its recent 2012 Trendwatch report.

It added: “The non-GMO movement also received a boost from major players within the natural product industry gaining Non-GMO Project verification, such as Silk and Whole Foods Market.”

Organic Monitor said that consumers increasingly are looking for greater authenticity in food supply chains – and this was largely responsible for the rapid growth of the Non-GMO Verified seal since its launch in 2007.

Presenting at the conference in San Francisco, Courtney Pineau from the Non-GMO Project said the popularity of the eco-label stems from Americans seeking assurances that their foods do not contain GMO traces.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, 94% of all soy, over 90% of sugar beet and canola, and 88% of corn in the United States is now grown using GM seeds. In processed foods, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has estimated that more than 75% of foods on the market contain GMOs.