- The entire line of Triscuit snack crackers is now Non-GMO Project Verified, according to a company statement. Boxes with the distinct verification seal started shipping to stores last month, and should be on all shelves nationwide next month.
- Consumer desire for non-GMO foods led the popular cracker, manufactured by Mondelez, to pursue the verification.
- “The Triscuit brand has evolved throughout its 100-plus-year history by delivering what consumers want, whether that’s new flavors; quick, everyday recipe solutions; or now, Non-GMO Project Verified snacking options,” Kailey Clark, brand manager for Triscuit North America, said in the statement. “The Non-GMO Project Verified seal is the gold standard. It is the most trusted label among consumers, and we are proud to offer that level of product transparency to Triscuit customers."
The standard crackers — which all start with whole grain wheat, oil and salt — are a relatively simple item in the Mondelez product line that are favored by consumers looking for a healthier snack. For both of these reasons, it makes sense that this brand is leading the way in attaining non-GMO verification. After all, there are relatively few non-GMO ingredients to source, and the type of consumer who reaches for a cracker because of its higher fiber content is likely to care about what goes into it.
As more consumers are aware of the existence of non-GMO food, interest in the products has grown. Federal regulators maintain that food products made with genetically modified ingredients are safe, but the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is the fastest growing label in the industry. According to statistics from the NPD Group, nearly two in five adults has heard or read at least "quite a bit" about GMO food — and about 76% are concerned about them. All products will soon be required to disclose GMO ingredients on their labels per federal law.
According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study cited in Progressive Grocer, 57% of U.S. consumers consider eating genetically modified foods “generally unsafe.” A 2016 Packaged Facts report also found that 26% of adults consider non-GMO labeling an important factor when choosing what foods to eat.
Triscuit is in good company as a Non-GMO Project Verified product. According to the verification group, there are more than 43,000 products from more than 3,000 brands with the symbol currently. Collectively, they represent $19.2 billion in annual sales. While the products on this list once mostly came from smaller natural and organic manufacturers, Triscuit is the newest big CPG brand to appear there. Weeks ago, Dannon's Danimals yogurt smoothies announced its verification, and the company expects the entire line of Dannon and Oikos branded yogurt to transition to non-GMO ingredients by the end of next year.
Although most scientists tout the safety of GMO ingredients and the federal government is embarking on an educational campaign to teach consumers that they are fine to eat, more manufacturers are likely to turn away from GMO ingredients and go toward verifications like Non-GMO Project's — or whatever will be needed in order to be deemed non-GMO under the federal labeling law. Making the switch to non-GMO ingredients takes patience and hard work with suppliers. It is not surprising that relatively simple CPG products are among the first to make the switch.
Since manufacturers don't often publicize when they are starting the journey of obtaining non-GMO certification, it will be interesting to see what other Big Food products bear the seal as time goes on. Certainly one Mondelez product can pave the way for other, more complicated ones to try to attain the seal. But will we see non-GMO Oreos at some point? Only time will tell.