CIFI sweet potato sweeteners get non-GMO verified
- All of the sweet potato-based dehydrated, liquid and syrup ingredients from Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI) are now Non-GMO Project Verified, according to a company statement.
- “No matter our customers’ requirements — be they Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Organic, or anything similar … this certification is a testament to our commitment to fulfilling our customers’ evolving needs,” Paul Verderber, CIFI vice president of sales, said in the release.
- In addition to the Non-GMO certification, all of the company’s sweet potato ingredients are vegan, non-allergenic, gluten-free and Kosher-certified too. CIFI also offers certified organic ingredients. All products are made in the USA with sweet potatoes sourced from North Carolina farmers.
With consumers paying more attention to genetically modified organisms in food products, it makes sense that manufacturers are striving to add the Non-GMO Project Verified seal to their packaging. According to Packaged Facts, non-GMO products had a global retail value of $550 billion in 2014, with $200 billion of those happening in the United States. The study estimated about 2,000 new non-GMO product launches in the United States per year.
But sweet potatoes are a fresh vegetable, so at first blush it seems strange to think that CIFI’s products need to be non-GMO verified. This is especially true considering that many companies put non-GMO labels on fruits and vegetables that have no GMO varieties. Even though commercial production of GMO potatoes and apples started recently, they aren’t yet widely available. Still, it’s smart for CIFI to use the non-GMO label — it addresses consumer questions about production and companies increasingly find that non-GMO labels can increase sales.
The use of natural sweeteners to replace high-fructose corn syrup is surging in popularity. Sugar reduction has the spotlight among health officials and consumers alike, especially as the latest rendition of the Nutrition Facts Label — which requires companies to list the amount of added sugars in their products — kicks into high gear.
CIFI became the first and only supplier of sweet potato ingredients made solely from U.S.-grown, non-GMO sweet potatoes when it launched commercial production in 2015. The company’s natural sweeteners offer nutritional and functional benefits that can be integrated into barbecue sauces, dressings, smoothies and other beverages, among other products. Demand for sweet potato flour to use in baked goods and pastries is also expected to increase as consumers seek alternatives to processed white flour.
So, what exactly do sweet potatoes, and more specifically CIFI’s sweeteners, have going for them? The vegetable’s potential for integration into products is certainly on-trend with several attributes today’s consumers seek in the foods they eat: clean label, natural, non-sugar, nutritious, transparent and sustainable. Sweet potatoes fundamentally have reached “superfood” status in the eyes of the consumer. They are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other nutrients, and have higher levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium than other popular sweeteners.
According to a study conducted by North Carolina State University cited by CIFI, 95% of consumers see sweet potato as a healthy ingredient. Consequently, food manufacturers that can find ways to innovate and reformulate products to include a trendy, healthy ingredient like the sweet potato could find themselves rewarded with consumer trial, greater loyalty and increased sales.
- Business Wire CIFI Achieves Non-GMO Certification for Sweet Potato Ingredients
- Prepared Foods Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients: Non-GMO Verified
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