ROCKVILLE, Md.—Food and beverages claiming to be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will account for almost a quarter of all food and beverage sales in the U.S., amounting to approximately $178 billion in sales in 2013, according to a report from Packaged Facts.
The report, "Non-GMO Foods: U.S. Market Perspective," estimates non-GMO products will make up around 30% of total food and beverage sales, with a value of about $264 billion, by 2017. A key element in the growth of the non-GMO segment of the overall food and beverage market will be the ongoing expansion in the demand for organic, natural foods and healthy-ingredient snacks.
According to David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a variety of factors, including the introduction of mandatory GMO labeling, could spur the development of non-GMO sales to a higher percentage of the total market. Conversely, an economic downturn or the widespread acceptance of new GMO seafood, meat and poultry products are among the factors that could slow sales.
There is widespread agreement within the scientific community that GMOs pose no threat to human health or the environment, which has become a factor in food choices among environmentally-conscious consumers. Nevertheless, there is a broad base of concern among advocacy groups about GMOs, a concern driven in part by fear of unknown ramifications. In addition, advocacy groups are concerned that a few international conglomerates, through their ownership of GMO technology, can gain or consolidate excessive dominance of the global food supply.