The Food Source will be at the Natural Products Expo West/SCIFT Suppliers’ Night Expo in Anaheim, CA. March 4-7, 2020.
Foods manufactured utilizing GMO ingredients is a hot-topic issue, both in the US and abroad. While it continues to be at the forefront of many political conversations, the roots of the discussion really started at a natural foods grocer located in Toronto, Ontario in 2001. The Big Carrot Natural Food Market implemented a non-GMO purchasing policy after conducting research pertaining to the use of GMO ingredients with food.
In 2003, a group of employees at The Natural Grocery Co. in Berkley, CA initiated a “People Want to Know Campaign” in response to questions they were receiving about food items within their own store. This campaign rallied 161 grocery stores and co-ops to their cause.
In 2005, both The Natural Grocery Company group and the Big Carrot Natural Food Market Group teamed up to form the Non-GMO Project. The central mission of the Non-GMO Project would be to provide a consistent, industry-wide standard for what non-GMO was. The Non-GMO Project teamed with the world leader in non-GMO testing, Global ID Group, then expanded its Board of Directors to include representatives from all stakeholder groups within the natural products industry. From there, the Project was able to solidify itself as the foremost certification group for consumer, food-service and industrial products that seek to confirm their non-GMO status to the desired user.
As daunting as verification of products by the Non-GMO Project sounded, some of the most difficult complications were products that contained dairy inputs. Depending on the actual dairy percentage being used within a food product, at a minimum the dairy input would have to meet the following criteria:
Many dairy suppliers have the ability to meet the rBST and animal husbandry practices criteria, but virtually all come up short when it comes to the non-GMO feed criteria.
This impacted one of our snack food customers in 2014 as they were looking to add an additional Non-GMO Project verified White Cheddar SKU. This was a product that had been in development since Q1-2013. The retail brand had a pre-existing relationship with another seasoning supplier who promised them they would be able to use their White Cheddar seasoning for a Non-GMO Project verifiable retail product. Unfortunately, documentation for the seasoning was continually promised but never delivered upon.
Time continued to pass through 2013, into Q1-2014 and finally the retail brand realized that their current seasoning supplier would be unable to provide the necessary documentation for the seasoning that would allow their finished retail snack food to gain Non-GMO Project verification.
Amidst conversation with the retail brand at the end of Q1-2014 on another project, they mentioned that they were having difficulty getting a potential new launch verified by the Non-GMO Project. Their drop-dead date for launch within a major natural foods retailer was July 2014. TFS had already developed multiple seasonings, some with dairy inputs, for retail brands that ended up gaining verification by the Non-GMO Project. Through the use of multiple non-GMO ingredients, including specialized dairy inputs that would meet the criteria of the Non-GMO Project, TFS was able to develop a low cost seasoning. This seasoning had the potential to scale volume quickly and meet all of the requirements of the Non-GMO Project.
TFS took the project over in April 2014 and was able to assist the retail brand in gaining Non-GMO Project verification with a newly developed seasoning by the end of May 2014. Scale-ups were produced in May 2014, with truck-load production quantities produced in early June 2014, leaving just enough time to meet the July 2014 national launch. The product has now been on the shelves for a year and a half and is showing steady growth.