As the demand for non-GMO goods and products continues to climb, conventional retailers are devoting more shelf space to the organic and non-GMO brands that appeal to conscientious shoppers.
It seems that the Butterfly is everywhere, and traditional retailers are taking note. Seemingly overnight, natural grocery retailers and co-ops—once the exclusive channels for organic and specialty products—are now sharing the market niche with traditional supermarket chains, big box stores, and discount grocery outlets. And with the purchasing power exhibited by a generation of vigilant moms and circumspect millennials calling for clean food, is it any surprise that predominant retailers and brands across all sectors are joining the charge?
Consumers Demand Non-GMO Options
Natural food stores have always been passionate about their customers, their service, and the quality of their commodities. On board from the get-go, their support of the non-GMO mission turned a grassroots quest for change into a formidable and irreversible call to action. In the process, these stores caused a shift in the landscape of the retail marketplace. Mainstream manufacturers and retailers alike are embracing non-GMO in response to mounting and compelling consumer pressure for choice.
Much in the same way that USDA Organic accreditation became a trusted benchmark for shoppers concerned about the food they eat, the calling for products made without GMOs is a growing demand that shows no signs of ebbing. When you vote with your dollars, even large companies listen!
Consumers have persuaded mainstream brands such as Dannon, Hershey, Nestle, and Triscuit that everyone has a right to know what is in their food and deserves access to non-GMO choices. Each product these brands get Non-GMO Project Verified helps to ensure that all shoppers, no matter where they shop, will have access to Verified non-GMO choices. Likewise, BIG retailers including CVS, Big Lots, Target, and Safeway/Albertsons, have also responded to their customers’ calls for GMO transparency and are taking steps to provide more non-GMO choices for their shoppers.
The Butterfly Lands on Private Label Products
This demand for clear labeling has reached store-brand products as well. According to a 2015 Consumer Reports supermarket study, 65 percent of shoppers surveyed said they buy store brands whenever they’re available. Growing numbers of retailers across all channels have opted to introduce natural and organic in-house lines.
Taking their commitment to ingredient transparency even further, retailers (conventional, crossover, and otherwise) are increasingly choosing to source and certify select private label products as Non-GMO Project Verified. For example:
- O Organics by Safeway/Albertsons
- Simply Balanced by Target
- Kirkland Signature by Costco
- SimplyNature by Aldi
- Wild Harvest by SuperValu
With 40 percent of consumers depending on non-GMO labels to guide their shopping decisions, more than 3,000 brands have verified more than 50,000 products, representing more than $26 billion in annual sales. As a result, record numbers of mainstream brands are making “non-GMO” integral to their identity and a diverse community of mainstream retailers are, fittingly, stepping into the natural products arena.
More Stores, More Choices!
Inspired by two grocery stores (The Natural Grocery Company in Berkeley, California and The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto, Ontario) in 2007, the Non-GMO Project Verification mark can now be found in almost every grocery store in the United States and Canada. Beyond grocery, the now iconic butterfly verification mark can also be found in small convenience stores, gas stations, airports, cafeterias, and most other places where packaged foods are sold. The Non-GMO Project’s Retailer Program, a program that supports and promotes retailers committed to providing consumers non-GMO choices, has grown to include more than 14,000 stores throughout the US and Canada in 2018. Of that number, almost 10,000 represent conventional stores. There is strength in numbers, and we could not be more grateful for their partnership as we work to preserve and build a safe, healthy non-GMO food supply for future generations.
The next time you visit your favorite co-op, local corner convenience market, or superstore, take a moment to marvel at the number of Verified products showcased on their shelves. Spend proactively in support of their non-GMO efforts to offer you non-GMO choices. And thank them for supporting the farmers, manufacturers, and community friends and neighbors who listened, heard, and committed to a non-GMO future.