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Growing Demand for Non-GMO Project Verification Foods Driven by Health & Environmental Concerns

A promotional image for Non-GMO Project Verified foods, featuring a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, lemons, and leafy greens. The text overlay reads 'Growing Demand for Non-GMO Project Verified Foods Driven by Health and Environmental Concerns,' with the Non-GMO Project Verified logo in the top left corner.

GMO Labeling Around the World


Dozens of countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Canada, on the other hand, does not require any GMO labeling. Many packaged and processed foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. Under the USDA's National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), some – but not all – products containing GMOs must be labeled in the United States. The growing demand for Non-GMO Project Verification Foods highlights the importance of clear labeling and consumer choice in the global food market.

 

Understanding GMOs


What is a GMO? Under the Non-GMO Project Standard, a genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism to which biotechnology has been applied. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. In the absence of credible, independent, long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown.

 

The Non-GMO Project


The first products to bear the Non-GMO Project Verified Butterfly label hit shelves in 2010. The label on groceries help shoppers to be certain they’re supporting practices that are better for people and the planet. Through their rigorous standards, this third-party certification is driving critical environmental and social change in our food systems. Non-GMO Project Verified items saw much steeper growth rates than other products between 2019 and 2021, according to a report from the Non-GMO Project and SPINS (click here).


The Non-GMO Project Verified logo, featuring an orange butterfly on a green checkmark, with the text 'NON GMO Project VERIFIED' and the website 'nongmoproject.org' below.

Growth in Non-GMO Sales


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Non-GMO Project Verified product sales were increasing by 5%-10% per year. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales have grown by 15% as consumers associate non-GMO as a healthier food choice. The leading category of Non-GMO Project Verified products is refrigerated foods, including milk, yogurt, eggs, meat products, and pasta. The second leading category is produce fruits and vegetables. Other leading categories of Non-GMO Project Verified products include snack foods, condiments, processed foods, and breads. Read more here.

 

Consumer Concerns and Preferences


According to the most recent EcoFocus Research® survey of 4,000 Americans aged 18 to 65, 54% of American grocery shoppers are extremely or very concerned about the safety of genetically modified foods, up 6 percentage points since 2010.


A bar chart showing the increase in concern about GMO safety among grocery shoppers from 2010 to 2022. The chart indicates that 48% of shoppers were concerned in 2010, while 54% were concerned in 2022, representing a 6% increase. The chart is labeled '54% of Grocery Shoppers Are Concerned About GMO Safety, Up 6% Since 2010,' with the source '© EcoFocus® Worldwide 2024' in the bottom right corner.

The survey goes on to say that 86% of grocery shoppers consider environmental reasons when choosing the products they buy and use at least sometimes. Among these environmentally motivated shoppers, 55% say that they have changed what they buy to avoid GMO ingredients in foods and beverages.


A bar chart showing that 86% of shoppers consider the environment in their purchases, of which 55% avoid GMOs. The chart is labeled '86% of Shoppers Consider Environment in Purchases, of which 55% Avoid GMO.' The bar is divided into two segments: 55% representing shoppers who also avoid GMOs and 86% representing total shoppers who consider the environment. The source '© EcoFocus® Worldwide 2024' is in the bottom right corner.

Influence of the Non-GMO Project Verified Label


The survey also finds that the Non-GMO Project Verified label is highly influential among aware shoppers. Among the 57% of grocery shoppers aware of the label, 60% say that the Non-GMO Project Verified label is extremely or very influential when making purchase decisions. Another 26% say it is somewhat influential.


A bar chart showing that the Non-GMO Project Verified label influences 86% of aware shoppers' purchase decisions. The chart is labeled 'Non-GMO Project Verified Label Influences 86% of Aware Shoppers' Purchase Decisions.' The bar is divided into three segments: 60% representing shoppers who find the label extremely or very influential, 26% representing shoppers who find the label somewhat influential, and 57% representing total shoppers who are aware of the label. The source '© EcoFocus® Worldwide 2024' is in the bottom right corner.

Furthermore, the label is extremely or very important to 55% of grocery shoppers when shopping for foods and beverages.


A bar chart showing that the Non-GMO Project Verified label is crucial to 55% of grocery shoppers. The chart is labeled 'Non-GMO Project Verified Label is Crucial to 55% of Grocery Shoppers.' The bar is divided into two segments: 28% representing shoppers who find the label extremely important and 27% representing shoppers who find the label very important. The source '© EcoFocus® Worldwide 2024' is in the bottom right corner.

EcoFocus Research


Harness the power of insight with EcoFocus Research. We are leaders in unraveling consumer attitudes and behaviors. EcoFocus Research guides organizations towards informed, strategic decisions. Good data will illuminate key trends in public perception and actions, confirming your current strategy or offering insights into potential new directions. We also do custom B2C and B2B studies. Contact us today to learn more about how EcoFocus can provide your company with actionable data and solutions.

 

Disclaimer


EcoFocus Research provides insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding sustainability. Our findings are derived from our independent surveys and research initiatives. It's important to note that while our research may reference studies and reports from various sources to contextualize consumer concerns, EcoFocus Research does not endorse, verify, or confirm the findings of these external studies. Our citation or discussion of such reports is intended solely to illustrate the public's growing awareness and concern about these issues and should not be construed as an endorsement of their conclusions. EcoFocus Research remains committed to providing high-quality, unbiased research on consumer trends and attitudes, facilitating informed decision-making for businesses, consumers and organizations without advocating for specific scientific outcomes or health claims.

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