- Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice and four other Tropicana varieties will begin to be labeled with the Non-GMO Project seal early next year, reports the New York Times.
- PepsiCo didn't change the products at all because the only ingredient in Tropicana is orange juice, and oranges are not genetically modified.
- "Tropicana Pure Premium is non-G.M.O., and it always has been. Some consumers, however, are expressing a desire to get beyond what brands are actually telling them, and we felt having external verification would give our consumers assurance," Björn Bernemann, vice president and general manager for the Tropicana brand in North America, told The New York Times.
What's notable about this move by PepsiCo is that the company has been vocal about its stance against state mandatory GMO-labeling efforts. The New York Times reports PepsiCo paid nearly $9 million in 2013 and 2014 to fight against GMO-labeling ballot measures in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State, per Environmental Working Group research, which is pro-GMO labeling.
"A company with the visibility of PepsiCo is absolutely going to have to take an extra step to make sure consumers trust the label. You can make a case that G.M.O.s are safe for human consumption, and there’s a lot of science that says they are, but certain consumers are still skeptical," Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest, told The New York Times.
PepsiCo has also spent millions over the past few years fighting mandatory GMO labeling at the federal level, either itself or through the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The company favors the current voluntary GMO labeling bill, which was passed by the House. GMO labeling is being debated in the Senate.
Non-GMO foods have been increasing in number in the U.S., but the market faces challenges not only from major manufacturers but also from the organic foods sector.