Food & Beverage PR — Is Non-GMO the New Trend?
Non-GMO foods are becoming more popular in markets and groceries around the country. In 2012, fewer than 3% of new products introduced carried the non-GMO or GMO-free label. In 2015, almost 16% of them did.
For several decades, as a nation, unhealthy options were a staple of our diet. Fast food was not just fast but filled with fats, salts, and processed carbs as well. The trends have been changing in recent years, and it’s not just about what you eat at home, but also about the appearance of healthier fast food chains like Baja Fresh and Chipotle. Traditional places are also adding more grilled chicken and vegetables to their offerings. At home, you can get weekly deliveries of ready to cook, even pre-measured, fresh foods. Those options come from several brands like Blue Apron and HelloFresh which offer organic foods — just another way of saying non-GMO.
So where the buzzword “natural” used to be the approach, the trend is shifting more and more to “organic” and “GMO-free.” This may be because people have come to mistrust the “natural” label and its vague meaning.. Interestingly, these labels appear on many pet foods now as well.
Who’s Launching New Non-GMO Products?
BUITONI, makers of high-quality, fresh refrigerated pasta and sauces, recently announced they would be shifting totally to non-GMO products. Nestle USA and their parent company, Nestle S.A., has also been changing many of their branded products to exclude GMO ingredients. Nestle S.A. is the largest global food company committed to providing healthy and nutritious food, but many of their products are also easy and fast to prepare as well as being healthy.
Likewise, Kraft has been running television advertisements about their packaged best-seller, Macaroni and Cheese. They haven’t made it to non-GMO status yet, but they removed all the artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes.
What It Takes to Add “Non-GMO” to Products
Receiving the right to label foods “Non-GMO” is not a quick or easy process. First every ingredient used in making that product must be traced back to its source(s) and independent third-party verifiers like SGS must ascertain that those products are non-GMO. Any ingredients that don’t measure up must be replaced and those new ingredients then go through the process as well. It doesn’t stop there either, because that label isn’t dependent just on the ingredients but on how they are processed and packaged too.
Once that verification is completed, then companies must redesign new labels and other promotional material to display their GMO-free status. It can take considerable resources, both in time and in money, to redesign product packaging, or even to add a new sticker.
Independent, national, and international organizations assure the public that GMO foods are just as safe as more natural and traditional crops. As adults around the country become more concerned with health and wellness, they feel the need to provide their families with the healthiest options — and in today’s market, organic, natural, and GMO-free all rank in the consumer’s book as something better. That’s due, in part, to some great PR going on behind the scenes. Some of that took decades to stick. That’s progress, and it’s a good thing.