Montana mill targets booming demand for non-GMO foods
Montana Specialty Mills has started work on a $20 million mill dedicated to producing non-GMO grain products and organic oilseeds, Food Business News reports.
The mill is based in Great Falls, Montana, where the company already has several storage facilities. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.
The company contracts with producers to process and market oilseeds and grain-based products. It chose the Montana location for its existing infrastructure, including rail links and proximity to the Great Falls International Airport.
The U.S. grain supply is now dominated by GMO varieties since their introduction more than 20 years ago. Even as food manufacturers have tried to respond to increased consumer demand for non-GMO ingredients, these grains are now so pervasive in the U.S. supply chain that they often have had to look to imports to meet their needs.
Increasing demand for both organic and non-GMO food has been good news for countries such as India, Ukraine, Romania and Turkey, according to The Organic and Non-GMO Report. It says organic corn imports more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 and accounted for nearly half of U.S. organic corn supply. In addition, about 80% of soybeans supplying the U.S. organic market were imported in 2016.
As much as 80 percent of packaged foods contain ingredients that have been genetically modified, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
According to a recent Packaged Facts report, there are about 2,000 non-GMO products launched in the U.S. each year, up from just a few hundred products annually a decade ago. This includes many of the biggest brands in the industry, like General Mills’ Non-GMO Cheerios and Kellogg’s Kashi brand.
Non-GMO Project Verified is the fastest growing label in the natural products industry, representing $19.2 billion in annual sales and more than 43,000 verified products for more than 3,000 brands. That's a large jump from $8.5 billion in 2014 and $1.2 billion in 2011.
However, changes like these have been far from easy, particularly as the supply chains for storing, processing, harvesting and transporting non-GMO grains must be kept separate from GMO varieties. As a result, many non-GMO products come with a price premium. The urgency of the situation led to the formation of the Non-GMO Supply Working Group in 2013. The organization aims to strengthen non-GMO supply chains, and brings together participants from every part of the supply chain — from seed breeders and brokers to food companies and retailers.
Mills that keep non-GMO and organic grains separate from genetically engineered varieties, like the new mill in Montana, are likely to be an integral part of their work to improve the supply of domestically grown non-GMO grains and oilseeds
- Food Business News Milling company to build facility for non-G.M.O., organic items