By: Daniel Lohman, CPSA

Published By Natural Products Insider

The majority of consumers are searching for healthier alternatives at restaurants and on their favorite retailer’s shelves.  66%* of consumers eat healthier now than before.   This accounts for the huge increases in both the organic and non-GMO segments, up 16% and 17% percent respectively.

There’s a lot of confusion around the benefits and the differences between organic and non-GMO.  Most consumers believe non-GMO to be a healthy alternative to organic – this is not true.  Non-GMO simply means that the seeds used to produce the crops are not genetically modified.  Genetically modified crops were developed, in theory, to increase food yields and decrease costs for farmers.  They were designed to be more pest and weed resistant.  Organic products are non-GMO by default but more importantly, they are produced without the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Using the old adage, “you are what you eat” as a guide to help us decide which products best meet our nutritional requirements, consumers need to decide if they want products that are modified and/or produced with the use of harmful chemicals compared to products that are grown sustainably.  Just as we worry about the quality of the water the plants absorb, we should also be equally concerned about any chemicals that can be absorbed by the plant as well.  This includes all pesticides and herbicides.

During the panel discussion, we talked about several of the reasons for this confusion between non-GMO and organic.  I believe that the non-GMO effort has done a better job marketing and communicating with consumers – compared to USDA organic certified.

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