The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that German shoppers’ ongoing preference for Ohne Gentechnik (“without genetic engineering”) labeled food is “driving demand in the market for non-GMO animal feed, leading to marketing opportunities for growers and producers of non-GMO feed ingredients and additives, while eroding demand for U.S. exports of genetically engineered soy.”
Germany’s voluntary GMO-free labeling program generated $11 billion in sales in 2018, a 41 percent increase from 2017. The country has mandatory labeling for foods containing genetically modified ingredients but not for meat and dairy products derived from animals fed GMO feed. To give German consumers a choice to buy non-GMO meat and dairy products, the country created the voluntary Ohne Gentechnik program in 2008; in 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture authorized VLOG— Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik (Association for Food without Genetic Engineering)—to license and administer the label.
VLOG members represent almost all food sectors, from dairy to vegetables, cereals, meat, and beverages. Non-GMO milk and dairy products lead the sales. The primary German grocery chains—Edeka, Rewe, Schwarz Group (Lidl), and Aldi—have adopted the Ohne Gentechnik label for their own brands. Thanks to German consumers, the GMO-free sector is nearly as large as the country’s organic food market—93 percent of respondents of a survey want to know if their food came from animals fed GMO feed. Fifty-eight percent of organic food purchasers claim to buy because products are GMO-free.
Sources: GM Watch, U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service
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