The high price of food labels

non gmo label w h
Image credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Many people assume that organic and non-GMO foods are more expensive, but is that really the case? In the recently published The price of non-genetically modified (non-GM) food, agricultural economists Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Jayson Lusk, and Alexandre Magnier used Nielsen product data to actually look at consumer purchasing and prices of organic and non-GMO foods from 2009 to 2016.

In Want non-GMO? How much more will it cost?, Jayson (one of the paper’s authors) writes: “We picked these product categories because they represent classes of products for which the potential impact of changes in the raw ingredients on the final retail price might be large (i.e., soybean or corn oil for which the supply is primarily GMO) to small (i.e., ice cream where the value share of GMO crops and their derivatives (e.g. corn syrup) is probably less than 5%).”

The researchers found that sales of organic and non-GMO products vary considerably by category. Organic products made up nearly 10% of cooking and salad oils and nearly 8% of tortilla chips sold in 2016 – much higher than I’d expected.

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Image credit: Anastasia Bodnar/SciMoms

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