Dannon said it is joining an effort in the U.S. to label food products made with genetically modified organisms.
The U.S. unit of French dairy giant Danone SA unveiled yogurts under the Dannon and Oikos brands featuring non-GMO ingredients.
The company said the move marks the start of a transformation of its three main U.S. yogurt brands—Dannon, Oikos and Danimals. Its products also include Activia and DanActive.
As part of the plan, Dannon also will aim to ensure that milk for its flagship brands will be sourced from cows fed with non-GMO feed. The effort, set to span next year, is expected to include feed suppliers and farmers and involve the conversion of roughly 80,000 acres of farmland for non-GMO crops.
A company spokeswoman said its Dannon, Oikos, and Danimals brands would carry the GMO labels within several months.
When asked about what prompted the shift, Mariano Lozano, CEO of Dannon U.S., said “We believe it’s the right thing to do because consumer preferences are continuing to evolve and we put consumers at the center of every decision we make.”
The move comes as consumer preferences have moved toward foods that are perceived as being healthier.
Dannon and WhiteWave
The U.S. subsidiary of the French dairy behemoth Danone SA also received a major boost from the parent company with the $10.4 billion cash purchase of WhiteWave, which significantly raised the company’s US market share and it’s credability.
While farm associations and food and beverage companies have praised the legislation, environmental groups and other critics have argued it doesn’t go far enough.
GMOs include crops whose genes have been engineered to make them resistant to pests, able to withstand herbicides, and otherwise hardier. Federal regulators have approved the GMO seeds on the market. Critics say they can hurt the environment and rely on herbicides that could harm consumers.