Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Do You Know the Difference Between Organic and Non-GMO?

It may seem like an unusual question to ask anyone who reads this Ezine, but do you know the difference between the words "organic" and "non-GMO?"  Apparently that's what the advertisers are counting on, because recent studies suggest that consumers don't distinguish between the two.

What the Study Was All About

The study, conducted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was aimed at labeling non-GMO foods and the best way to convey the product to consumers. The study surveyed 1132 consumers over the terms "Non-GMO Project Verified"and "USDA Organic." Respondents were asked questions about granola bars and apples labeled either non-GMO or Organic.  The results proved interesting.

The Difference Between Non-GMO and Organic

There are obvious differences when it comes to non-GMO versus Organic foods.  Those foods labeled as USDA Organic cannot have any GMOs in them and must be grown according to strict organic practices.  Those labeled as Non-GMO may have up to 0.9 percent GMO within the product.  Granted, that is less than 1 percent, but it is a difference.  Also just because a product is non-GMO, it doesn't mean it was grown without pesticides and other chemicals. So, one should never mistake "Non-GMO Project Verified" for "USDA Organic."

Study Results

The study results showed that consumers were willing to spend up to 35 cents more on granola bars that were labeled non-GMO versus those labeled GMO. However, consumers were only willing to spend 9 cents more on those labeled organic versus those labeled GMO. When it came to apples, respondents were willing to pay 35 cents more for non-GMO and 40 cents more for organic.  This suggests an overall confusion when it comes to organic versus non-GMO foods.

Does Organic Matter?

A good question to ask is does organic matter to the consumer? It may, but there may just be confusion what USDA Organic means. It may mean that seeing something labeled as Non-GMO conveys an idea that consumers recognize and prefer.  It may mean that those who produce our foods may have to add a non-GMO label after the USDA Organic label.  Or, it may mean that companies will drop their organic designation in favor of a less costly non-GMO certification.

Something to think about.

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