"GMO-free" moving forward in new products
Interest in natural products has grown markedly in recent years.
This has been reflected in a number of ways in new product activity, such as the use of all natural colours, flavours and other raw materials. The popularity of organic products and the promotion of milk and dairy products from grass-fed livestock is also on trend, as is the growing use of GMO-free labelling.
In terms of product activity, launches featuring GMO-free claims and labelling remain relatively limited on a global scale.
While nearly 13 per cent of launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to March 2013 were marketed on an "additive-free" or "preservative-free" platform, nearly 7 per cent were marketed as "natural" and 6 per cent as "organic," just 1.1 per cent used "GMO-free" labelling. This figure rises slightly higher in certain countries and regions, notably Europe and Australasia, falling to less than 1 per cent in North America and Asia.
In terms of products carrying "GMO-free" claims, snacks, dairy and bakery have the largest number of launches, reflecting the significance of GM ingredients in sectors using high levels of cereals for food or feed. They accounted for 14.1 per cent, 13.3 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively, of global "GMO-free" launches recorded, ahead of baby foods, meat, fish and eggs, confectionery and ready meals.
Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights reports: "In addition to the compulsory labelling regulations in place in the EU since the 1990s, there has also been a more recent move to verify and more easily identify 'GMO-free' food and drinks."
She notes particular interest in using GMO-free labelling for dairy products, with Germany and Austria tending to lead developments. Austria's ongoing interest in marketing the purity of its dairy products resulted in it increasingly combining the use of pasture milk (Heumilch) with GMO-free labelling and this trend spread to Germany, as illustrated by Arla's late-2012 introduction of its Bergbauern Emmentaler and Bergkäse cheeses marketed as being made with pure pasture milk (Heumilch) and carrying a "GMO-free" logo.
Innova Market Insights has also recorded a wide range of US launches marketed as GMO-free over the past 12 months, including mainstream lines, such as breakfast smoothies and drinks from Bolthouse Farms, Silk soy milk lines and Plum Kids organic baby food products; more specialist products such as Amy's Bowl Meals range and Garden of Eatin tortilla chips; and new organic milks from retailer own-brands, particularly Fresh & Easy, owned by the UK retailer Tesco.
"The demand for GMO-free labelling seems set to continue to grow as a marketing tool globally," Williams concludes, "as even where GMO foods have to be labelled, such as in the EU, there is still apparently demand for easy recognition of GMO-free lines as the use of logos and certification schemes continues to grow".