“Free-From” Foods Are Changing the Way Your Meals Are Produced
Published: October 4, 2018
Category: Non-GMO News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
More and more consumers want foods free from genetically modified ingredients, gluten, pesticides, and antibiotics and food companies are responding.
Sales of such “free-from” foods are poised to grow 15 percent, or $1.4 billion, in the U.S. between 2017 and 2022, according to Euromonitor data. The U.S. is the largest global growth market for the free-from trend as consumers seek to curb certain ingredients or additives from their diets.
“Americans increasingly want to know what’s in the products they buy and how they’re made,” said Sergio Fuster, president of the U.S. yogurt division for Danone’s North American unit.
The maker of Dannon yogurt began reaching out to farmers eight years ago to identify ways to source non-genetically modified feed for cows. Since then, more than 65,000 acres of farmland have been converted to source the feed needed by the dairies, including grass and alfalfa, according to Fuster.
Some of the largest food companies have taken steps to produce “free-from” foods. General Mills, Inc. built a special eight-story sorting facility to get rid of an ingredient that wasn’t in its cereal—gluten. Tyson Foods, Inc., the nation’s largest meat company, bought organic chicken producer Tecumseh Poultry LLC. Ardent Mills LLC, the top U.S. wheat miller, has created “The Annex,” a unit that’s trying to find the future of specialty grains and plant-based ingredients.
Farmers who were ahead of the curve now find themselves well positioned to profit from the boom in demand for more specialized products. Iowa farmer John Gilbert has been raising pigs on pasture since the late 1980s without the use of antibiotics. Today, he supplies Niman Ranch, a supplier of sustainably-raised meat for Chipotle and has increased his production by 30 percent in the past 30 years.
Source: Bloomberg News
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