Cargill, a traditionally vehement supporter of genetically modified crops, is to sell its first food ingredients which have been verified that they do not contain genetically modified organisms. One of the world’s biggest food suppliers has made the move amid a landscape in which foodmakers and the public are wanting Cargill and other suppliers to provide GMO-free ingredients.
Cargill said that for the first time it has received verification from the voluntary labeling organization, the Non-GMO Project, for three of its food ingredients.
The three ingredients carrying the non-GMO seal of approval are cane sugar, high oleic sunflower oil and erythritol, a sweetener made from corn.
The number of US new products launches tracked with a GMO-free claim is entering a new stage, as major companies reveal plans to label their use of genetically modified ingredients, according to Innova Market Insights data.
An analysis of global mainstream new product launches [excluding supplements, sports nutrition, clinical nutrition, oral care and pet food] featuring a GMO-free claim grew from 1% of launches in 2010 to 5% in 2015. But when looking specifically at the US market, launch numbers are even more dramatic, rising from 1% in 2010 to 14% in 2015.
“Consumer demand for non-GMO food and beverages is growing, and Cargill is responding,” says Mike Wagner, Managing Director for Cargill’s starches and sweeteners North America division.
“We’re delighted to work with the Non-GMO Project, the leading verifier of non-GMO products in the United States. Their distinctive trademark is the most recognized symbol for non-GMO products in the country.”
Cargill, which supplies ingredients for the likes of General Mills and Kraft Heinz, has over the years supplied ingredients for thousands of products that have been genetically altered, such as corn and soybeans.
However, US consumer buying habits are changing. Consumer awareness of GMO products has grown in recent years, as consumers are becoming more demanding about the provenance of the ingredients they eat.
Some are wanting “clean label” foods, which can include a non-GMO verification.
It said that it would likely sell more products, verified as non-GMO, in the future.
Cargill said: “Cargill’s commitment to verification of these ingredients, and others expected in the future, should have significant impact on the available non-GMO verified ingredient supply for consumer packaged goods, and increase the acreage dedicated to non-GMO agriculture in North America.”
Sales of Non-GMO Project verified products increased from $348.8m in 2010 to more than $19bn in March 2016.
According to Packaged Facts, demand for non-GMO products is expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2018.
Martin Westgate, Executive Director and Founder of the Non-GMO Project, said that inking a deal with Cargill would increase the availability of non-GMO foods to consumers.
He said: “The Non-GMO Project’s mission is to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide verified non-GMO choices.”
“Achieving this mission requires participation by companies of all sizes, including supply-chain leaders like Cargill that can provide large-scale availability of non-GMO food ingredients.”
“We hope that Non-GMO Project Verification for these three Cargill products, and likely more to come, will continue to expand the availability of non-GMO foods for the millions of consumers who seek them.”
The US federal government passed a law earlier this year stipulating that food companies must label their products which contain GMOs.
The Cargill high oleic sunflower oils receiving Non-GMO Project Verification include:
• Clear Valley High Oleic Sunflower Oil
• Clear Valley Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil
• IngreVita High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Cargill selected NSF International to be Technical Administrator for Cargill’s Non-GMO Verified ingredients. NSF International is a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences, and consumer goods industries.