Plant-based food trend favors more non-GMO soybean production in Canada
Published: February 8, 2021
Category: Non-GMO News
Non-GMO soybeans offer Canadian farmers the opportunity for price premiums and higher demand from the growing non-GMO market. But there are also challenges such as weed control and the need to segregate non-GMO soybeans from GMO varieties to preserve non-GMO purity.
Canada’s non-GMO soybean production has decreased over the years, going from 81% of Canada’s total soybean production in 2000 to 13.5% in 2018, though production increased to 19% in 2019.
When commodity soybean prices are low, more farmers consider growing non-GMO. There are also trends that favor non-GMO production. The plant-based food market is expected to grow at a combined annual growth rate of 11.9% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $74.2 billion by 2027, according to Meticulous Market Research. Non-GMO is a food quality that many consumers of plant-based foods want.
“Plant-based proteins are being advertised everywhere we look,” says Martin Vanderloo, president of Huron Commodities, based in Clinton, Ont.
Vanderloo believes that in the long term, consumers will come to accept more plant-based proteins in their diets. “This concept includes food safety, traceability, and sustainability as well. This thinking is very big in Europe.”
In addition, farm managers are becoming younger and considering all options to improve their bottom lines, including non-GMO.
There is also a steady contingent of farmers who have grown non-GMO soybeans for many years and will continue to grow non-GMO because they make money.
“Growers have always been aware of this market opportunity,” says Vanderloo. “They tend to weigh convenience against returns. When the soybean market drops like it has this past year, there tends to be more interest in IP (identity preserved) soybean production.”
Vanderloo says that his company’s agronomists run crop budgets to keep farmers informed about the economics non-GMO versus GMO production.
He also cites another issue that favors non-GMO production: the need to rotate crops to reduce the risk of weeds resistant to glyphosate herbicide, which is used with GMO soybeans.
Canada’s non-GMO soybeans are grown primarily in Quebec and Ontario but production is expanding to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to Ron Davis, executive director of Soy Canada.
“In recent years, some Canadian soybean exporters have been successful in expanding producer interest in identity-preserved soybeans into Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” says Davidson.
Source: Country Guide
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights February 2021