GMO labelling for food products was first introduced in the EU in 1997, in order to provide consumers with the privilege to choose between the conventional food products and GMOs. The mandatory labelling asks manufacturers to indicate the GMO ingredients on the labels of genetically engineered products. The global GMO labelling market is growing at a steady pace, and according to FMI’s research, the market is expected to grow moderately in the near future.
Vermont was the first state to pass the GMO food labelling bill in 2014, followed by Maine and Connecticut. Currently, 64 countries around the globe, which contribute nearly 40% of the world’s population, including the EU, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Australia, China, India, South Africa, Germany, and more are labelling their GMO food products.
Recently, the U.S. has passed the first law of GMO labelling, with a few defined exceptions. Following this, the GMO labelling market is anticipated to thrive globally.
Key Drivers: GMO Labelling Market
- According to the National Academy of Sciences, consumers must know whether or not the products they are purchasing contain transgenic ingredients, and make an informed decision considering their risks and benefits. This has been a key force behind the market growth.
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- Manufacturers around the globe are currently labelling packaged foods/grocery, prepared foods, GMO produce/plant material/seeds, dairy and cheese, meat and seafood, beer and wine, body care and supplements/additives, containing GMO ingredients. However, with increasing product launches from the food and beverages industry is fuelling the market growth further.
- Advanced technology research persisting in the market is also identified to foster the revenues of the GMO labelling market during the forecast period.
- The consumer behaviour toward food products is constantly evolving. As consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about healthy edible products, FMO food manufacturers are keenly concentrating on catering to the GMO labelling needs so as to retain a loyal consumer base. This is another key driver expected to boost the market ahead over the forecast period.
Key Restraints to Market Growth
- A number of manufacturing companies seek GMO food products labelled as ‘natural’ products, regarding which the Grocery Manufacturer Association had filed a petition to the FDA in 2014. This and similar activities in the market could restrain the long term establishment of GMO labelling.
- The mandatory food labelling law has been resulted in increased costs for the food and beverages industry to some extent. As a result, a number of manufacturers are signing the petition against GMO labelling owing to the possibility of increased costs, which might negatively impact the market in the near future.· A few GMO crops have been reportedly recognised to contain ingredients, which may pose hazard to human health, especially children. Moreover, such components are often harmful in terms of environmental safety. This could be a major roadblock in rapid and widespread adoption of GMO labelled products globally.
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- According to the Food Standards Agency (EU), a sizeable consumer population still prefers consuming non-GMO food products irrespective of their authorised safety and genuineness. According to a recent survey, such people are highly reluctant about the health, safety, agronomic, and economic impacts of GMO crops and derived food products. It is another factor restricting the market growth.
GMO Labelling: Regional Market Dynamics
The U.S. where GMO labelling of food products was not mandatory till the last couple of years, has now a law passed in favour of GMO food labelling. Following this law, major players in the market have already started labelling for the presence of genetically engineered ingredients in their products. The country has also initiated larger scale production of GMO crops, including corn and soy.
On the contrary, an increasing number of European consumers are currently asking for non-GMO products, leading to growing product launches in the GMO-free food sector across the EU. In 2015, the market revenues of GMO-free foods were considerably high, out of which around 4.7% products were launched in Italy, 3.5% in Germany, and 2.4% in the U.K.
Most of the developing regions, including APAC, though label GMO food products, lack standardisation to a large extent. While the Chinese market is full of discrepantly labelled GMO products, the Middle East market does not have a proper set of norms for GMO labelling yet. The key reason for this scenario is the enforcement of the law without considering manufacturers’ and consumers’ consents.
Key Organisations Governing the GMO Labelling Market
Some of the major organisations providing GMO labelling incudes SGS SA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and European Food Safety Authority.
Campbell Soup Co., a leading food manufacturing brand in the U.S., has been heading in the business of producing high quality soups, snacks, meals, healthy beverages, and much more. In January 2016, the company announced its commitment to label each of their GMO product in future.
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Although the details of the contents of Coke and Diet Coke are always updated on the company’s website, the GMO labelling law has pushed the company to further label products on their packages. The company however may stop the production of some of its lesser popular products in order to compensate with the additional costs of labelling.
On the other side, brands such as Kellog Company, ConAgra, General Mills, and Mars will be voluntarily labelling their GMO products across the market.