Two decades after the first genetically engineered seeds were sold commercially in the U.S., genetically modified organisms—the crops grown from such seeds—are the norm in the American diet, used to make ingredients in about 80 percent of packaged food, according to industry estimates.
Now an intensifying campaign, spearheaded by consumer and environmental advocacy groups like Green America, is causing a small but growing number of mainstream food makers to jettison genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. In addition to Ben & Jerry’s, a subsidiary of Unilever PLC, General Mills Inc. this year started selling its original flavor Cheerios without GMOs. Post Holdings Inc. took the GMOs out of Grape-Nuts. Boulder Brands Inc.’s Smart Balance has converted to non-GMO for its line of margarine and other spreads. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is switching to non-GMO corn tortillas.
“Non-GMO” is one of the fastest-growing label trends on U.S. food packages, with sales of such items growing 28% last year to about $3 billion, according to market-research firm Nielsen. In a poll of nearly 1,200 U.S. consumers for The Wall Street Journal, Nielsen found that 61 percent of consumers had heard of GMOs and nearly half of those people said they avoid eating them. The biggest reason was because it “doesn’t sound like something I should eat.”
Read the full, original article: The GMO fight ripples down the food chain