Booming consumer desire for GMO-free products has been the driving force behind Barbara’s efforts towards non-GMO certification, says its vice president of marketing.
Weetabix-owned natural and organic cereal and snack maker Barbara’s has now certified 81% of its portfolio as non-GMO. The Non-GMO Project verification covers 30 out of 37 products, including cereal, bars and cookies.
Frederico Meade, Barbara’s vice president of marketing, said the move was in response to consumer demands.
“We conducted research with over 1,300 natural and organic consumers in the United States. A portion of those users were our most loyal consumers, and they felt strongly that non-GMO verification was important to them,” Meade told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Meeting consumer needs is critical to the success of our brands. From an industry perspective, it’s a huge shift in the food industry which is driven by consumers. We’re proud to be one of the companies at the forefront.”
No easy task, but worth the effort…
Barbara’s plans to eventually achieve 100% non-GMO certification across its portfolio and said it expects to certify other products within the coming months.
“The path to earning non-GMO certification isn’t easy and the process can take several months or years depending on many factors including how many products a company enrolls at one time, the number of ingredients in a product and the level of evaluation required for each ingredient,” Meade said.
Nearly half of Barbara’s portfolio already met the standards set by the Non-GMO Project, making it easy for certification, he added. “However, with other products, we had to find new ingredient suppliers in the US as well as Canada, Europe and Latin America.”
The efforts to achieve non-GMO certification will hopefully pay off in terms of increased sales, Meade said.
All of Barbara’s Puffins cereal has been non-GMO certified – one of the biggest moves because the products are corn-based, said Katrina Yolen, senior brand manager in marketing at Barbara’s.
The cereal line has been repackaged to reflect the certification and hit shelves at the beginning of August, she said.
The brand plans to utilize social media to engage with consumers on going non-GMO, she said.