Driven by consumer desire to have healthier foods with fewer added ingredients or an aspects that are not “natural," non-GMO products accounted for approximately $550 billion of the $5 trillion global food and beverage retail market in 2014, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
U.S. sales of non-GMO food and drink accounted for $200 billion or 36 percent of the overall global non-GMO total. According to the “Non-GMO Foods: U.S. and Global Market Perspective, 2nd Edition" report, new non-GMO product launches in both retail and foodservice in the United States have been estimated to be about 2,000 per year up from just a few hundred jut 10 years ago.
Organic and natural foods accounted for the lion’s share of domestic non-GMO sales at 60 percent of the U.S. market last year. The report estimated that share will increase to about three-fourths of overall non-GMO retail sales by 2019. The increase of organic/natural as a part of non-GMO reflects the increasing popularity of organic food specifically and natural foods more generally with American consumers; the linkage between organic and non-GMO in consumer understanding; and the probability that there will be no resolution on a national level regarding mandatory GMO labeling on food and beverage products.
Looking ahead, the total global market for non-GMO foods and beverages will almost double by 2019 due to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent between 2014-2019, outpacing the CAGR for U.S. non-GMO sales. Nevertheless, the U.S. share of the global non-GMO market will hold at about one-third.
The battle between pro-and anti-GMO forces shows no sign of abating. If anything it seems to be getting more intense. In the U.S., 80% to 90% of such key crops as corn, soybeans, and cotton are grown from genetically modified (GM) seeds and there is little effort by anti-GMO forces to undo those facts on the ground. Instead, there is bitter conflict over attempts to have foods made using ingredients from GMOs labeled as such.
Much of it has to do with whether the research indicating that GMOs are not harmful to humans is conclusive. Those supporting the use of GMOs point not only to extensive research studies indicating their safety but also to the fact that there is no evidence of any harm to human consumers in the two plus decades that GMOS have been in use. Opponents reject this argument, questioning the validity of the research, noting a lack of peer review, despite approvals from leading United States and European health agencies, and suggesting the period of use is too short to have provided adequate data.