Infographic: Organic vs. Non-GMO – What’s the Difference?

PacMoore recently released an interesting infographic on the differences between organic and non-GMO labels. Most consumers, as well as food brands, struggle to understand what is the difference. The certification and verification process is much different. Check out PacMoore’s infographic to learn more!

organic non-gmo what is difference certification verification

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Consumers are Confused about “non-GMO” and “organic” Labels

The Meatingplace reported on a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They found more results pointing to confusion amongst consumers when evaluating “non-GMO” and “organic” labels.

How the Study Worked

Researchers based their findings on a national survey of 1,132 respondents. These people were specifically asked about their willingness to pay more for food labeled as non-GMO or genetically modified. The two products that the researched focused on were a 12-pack of granola bars versus fresh apples. The evaluated how much more respondents would pay for either of these items labeled as “Non-GMO Project Verified” or “USDA Organic.”

Their Findings Showcase Confused Consumers

The team of researchers found that consumers will pay $0.35 more for a 12-pack of granola bars with the “Non-GMO Project Verified” label on the packaging. However, the “USDA Organic” label did not hold as much weight, as consumers would only pay $0.09 more for the granola bars.

When consumers looked at fresh apples, things changed. Consumers were willing to pay $0.35 more for a pound of fresh apples labeled as “Non-GMO Project Verified” while they were willing to pay $0.40 more for the same pound of fresh apples labeled as “USDA Organic.” It seems that the “USDA Organic” label carries more weight in fresh produce than processed foods based on this study.

Why are Consumers Confused?

Consumers have almost done this to themselves as they have demanded more product transparency from brands over the past few years. Food companies are scrambling to add claims that stick out and show their food is “real.” Label Insight showcased last year that consumers find it difficult to understand if a product meets their needs by looking at the package.

What’s interesting about this new study from the University of Florida is how consumers are confused about “organic” and “non-GMO.” According to the USDA, the use of GMOs is prohibited in “organic” foods. So in reality, all organic foods are “non-GMO.” However, not all “non-GMO” foods are organic. Which makes it even more interesting that consumers are willing to pay more for packaged products with the non-GMO project verified logo.

The bottom line is education is needed on this subject. As food manufacturers invest in more organic foods and certifications, they expect consumers to be willing to pay more. This could spell trouble for brand betting big on organic in 2018 and beyond.

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Half of Cropland Acres in the U.S. Were Devoted to GMO Crops in 2012

Farmers in the United States have been using genetically engineered organisms or GMO crops since 1996. These plants are modified so that they can resist pest and tolerate harmful pesticides. Genetically modified seed companies were so successful that 90% of the corn, cotton, soybean, sugar beets and canola are GMO crops. While crops like squash, papaya, and alfalfa are now being cultivated using genetically engineered (GE) varieties.  If you go to the countryside and admire acres of farmlands, you might just be surprised how many farms are planting GMO crops.

Acres of Lands Planted with GMO and Non-GMO Crops

According to USDA, there are about 182 million (of the 380 million) acres of agricultural land in the United States that have been planted with GMO crops of which 90% is planted with soybeans and corn while the rest with beets and cotton. Only 0.6% and 0.3% of said agricultural land were planted with genetically engineered varieties of vegetables and fruits.

On the other hand, there are only 5.4 million acres of farmlands that are certified organic farming systems. Only half of the organic system is used as a cropland because the rest is used for pasture. Out of it, only 0.3% is planted with non-GM corn and 0.2% with soybeans.  A large percentage of the cropland is planted with organic carrots, lettuce, squash and other vegetables.


Market Value of Non-GMO Crops

The USDA reported that organic corn and soy fetched higher prices than its GMO counterparts. While conventional farming resulted in more production, the consumers have shifted to patronizing organic products. In fact, most GE crops are now used to create processed foods and other food ingredients like breakfast cereals, corn chips, corn syrup, corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

The non-GMO crops, on the other hand, continue to expand and co-exist with conventional crops as more and more people are looking for organically-grown foods and produce. This is the reason why many organic retailers are looking for additional assurance when it comes to labeling and differentiating their organic foods from the GMO crops. This is also to ensure that they get price premiums associated with organic cultivation.


Problems with GMO and Non-GMO Co-Existence

While it can be inferred that both GMO and organic crops can co-exist, there are still some problems related to its co-existence. The most common problem is how to maintain the integrity of the non-GM crops. Accidental pollination or co-mingling of the two types of plants is bound to happen which can result in a price drop of the premium organic food.

As a matter of fact, organic farmers from Nebraska, Oklahoma and Illinois have reported economic losses due to co-mingling of pollen. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has resulted in lower yields due to incompatibility. There are solutions implemented by the local organic farmers.  Practices such as the use of buffer strips can help protect the non-GM crops. Moreover, planting organic corn two to four weeks later than the conventional GMO crops can also prevent cross pollination.

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Most Americans Believe GMO Foods are Unsafe

Many Americans are becoming more and more aware of the problem we are faced with, and it’s one that hits us where it hurts. The debate over the safety of genetically modified foods has put state lawmakers who favor requiring labeling of these products at odds with counterparts in Congress who oppose it. The GMO lobby is pushing congress around to keep their products from facing the scrutiny that this recent Pew Research highlights in detail.

Who-Spends-the-Most-Money-Lobbying-GMOs-2012-600The House last month passed a bill that would nullify any state laws that require labeling, dealing a blow to state lawmakers and advocates who support such a move

Vermont Connecticut and Maine passed legislation this year making GM food labeling mandatory; dozens of other states are exploring similar bills on the issue.


FT_15.08.10.GMODemographicsPew Research: Most Americans Believe GM Foods are Unsafe

As this issue plays out on Capitol Hill, polls show that a majority of Americans support labeling genetically modified foods, and half check for GM food labels while shopping. “More than half (57%) of U.S. adults believe that GM foods are generally unsafe to eat, while (37%) say these foods are safe”, “Women are more likely than men to view GM foods as unsafe (65% vs. 49%).” Opinions also vary by race and ethnicity; blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say that genetically modified foods are generally unsafe to eat according to a Pew Research Center survey

The Pew Research survey also found differences in vie
ws based on education levels and science knowledge. Those with lower levels of educational attainment or science knowledge are more inclined to view GM foods as unsafe.

NutriFusion® agree with the majority of American that genetically modified foods are unsafe. We have been committed to the non-GMO movement since we started. Our concentrated, fruit and vegetable powders always come from non-GMO produce. We believe in the transparency and honesty that health conscious consumers expect in 2015.