La Brea Bakery, North America’s leading artisan bread brand, recently announced that by the end of the year, its entire line of artisan breads will be non-GMO, making it the first non-GMO artisan bread line available in North America.
More than 50 products non-GMO verified
“We are passionate about food that not only tastes good but is also good for you and responsibly sourced,” said Kristina Dermody, president of La Brea Bakery, which has been baking artisan breads for more than 25 years. “It was important to us to make the promise to our consumers that we will only use non-GMO ingredients in our artisan breads moving forward. We are proud to be the first North American artisan bread brand that is making this commitment.”
With the bakery’s extensive food service and retail product line, Dermody said it was a big commitment to make across the company’s entire artisan bread line by 2016.
More than 50 La Brea Bakery artisan bread products are now Non-GMO Project verified with more on the way.
According to Dermody, research has shown that consumers want more non-GMO options, citing a 2014 Consumer Reports National Research Center survey that found that more than 70% of Americans say they don’t want GMOs in food.
La Brea Bakery’s artisan bakeries will be non-GMO certified, and all the company’s artisan breads will bear the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal.
Simple ingredients made verification easier
Dermody said that because of La Brea Bakery’s size, sourcing non-GMO ingredients can be difficult, but she said: “We are lucky that our ingredients are already simple and straightforward. It made the transition much easier because our ingredient lists are not long or difficult to understand. Of course, there are always issues that come up, but we have a great supplier network helping us make this a smooth transition.”
One challenge has been sourcing non-GMO cheese because most conventional cheeses are made using a genetically modified enzyme, chymosin. “Because of that, the couple of cheese breads that we have will not be part of the first wave. However, we will continue to look for options,” Dermody said.
John Yamin, CEO of ARYZTA, the parent company of La Brea Bakery, recently told Forbes that the non-GMO commitment is in line with the company’s industry leadership and response to customer demands.
“Just as we were the first artisan bread company to go national, we feel it is our responsibility to take the lead in this regard, too,” he said. “For our bread portfolio, switching to non-GMO is about transparency, and being pure. Bread is about simplicity and purity, and we think it’s important to preserve that. It’s also what consumers are requesting these days.”
One of the largest sellers of fresh bread in the U.S., La Brea Bakery offers many breads, including dinner and sandwich rolls, baguettes and batards, ciabatta, focaccia, loaves, rounds, ovals, flatbreads, and Take & Bake breads. With headquarters in Los Angeles, La Brea Bakery operates a flagship store there and a casual dining restaurant in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. The company also has two larger bakeries in Van Nuys, California and Swedesboro, New Jersey to serve wholesale customers. La Brea Bakery breads and foods are sold at more than 6,500 grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada.