Want Non-GMO Foods? Here Are Your Brands

Many consumers are fearful of foods that contain ingredients produced by genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. While I don't think that fear is grounded in fact, I am not opposed to organic foods. In fact, the organic-food market may be one of the better growth opportunities for investors. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that organic-food sales will grow from $11 billion in 2004 to nearly $30 billion this year. The segment grew nearly twice as fast for all foods in 2012.

Do you want to learn more about organic brands that are 100% GMO-free and the investing opportunities they present? Let's explore some of the products offered by Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM  ) , General Mills (NYSE: GIS  ) , WhiteWave Foods (NYSE: WWAV  ) , and Kellogg Company (NYSE: K  ) .


Source: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods sells more than 4,800 products from 250 brands that have been verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit promoting the use of GMO-free foods. The grocer's private-label brand, 365, offers hundreds of products that are verified by the organization. The exhaustive list includes juices, fruit preserves, chips, crackers, sauces, milk, frozen vegetables, and just about anything else you would need on a regular excursion to the grocery store.  

Cascadian Farm

Source: General Mills

General Mills sports the Cascadian Farm brand. It may have only one product at the moment that's been certified by the Non-GMO Project, but it is one of the nation's largest organic-food brands and one of the nonprofit's biggest supporters. It simply takes time for the organization to verify supply chains. Also remember that in order for a food to be certified organic by the USDA it must be free of GMO ingredients. The brand sports cereals, frozen fruits, snack bars, and a wide range of vegetables offered at grocery stores throughout the country.


Horizon believes that the best organic dairy products come from happy cows. Source: Wikimedia Commons

You have likely come across the Horizon brand during your trips to the supermarket. The wildly successful and visible brand is owned by WhiteWave Foods and offers organic dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter, as well as eggs. The company neither includes GMO ingredients in its foods, nor does it treat its cows with growth hormones (no significant difference has been shown between milk from rBST-treated and non rBST-treated cows) or antibiotics (prohibited by organic regulations). Its commitment to offering consumers a dependable supply of organic dairy products has gone a long way toward its tremendous growth over the years.  


Source: Kashi

Kellogg Company promotes the all-natural-cereal brand Kashi, which was surrounded by controversy in 2011 after an analysis conducted by the Cornucopia Institute found GMO ingredients in some of its products. That's hardly surprising given the dominance of biotech crops in the nation's agriculture industry, but it does fly in the face of the USDA Organic seal. The brand has moved past the controversy and now features 11 foods and 16 products certified by the Non-GMO Project. In fact, Kellogg aims to have more than half of Kashi's foods verified by the nonprofit by the end of 2015.  

Foolish bottom line
The list above isn't meant to instill fear about GMO foods or GMO ingredients, but to show that there are plenty of options available for wary consumers and that sufficient labels already exist to successfully communicate which foods are GMO free. Meanwhile, investors looking for an industry with great growth prospects will certainly want to investigate the companies above in more detail. What portfolio couldn't use a little organic growth?

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 8:55 AM, pondee619 wrote:

    "Horizon believes that the best organic dairy products come from happy cows"

    And Gracie Allen always touted Carnation Evaporated Milk as coming from "contented cows". Did it make a difference then, does it make a difference now?

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 5:44 PM, todamo13 wrote:

    There are plenty of factual reasons to avoid GMOs if you care about sustainable agriculture, good health, and good food. If people choose to believe Monsanto "scientists" (who also, by the way, claimed that Agent Orange and Roundup were not dangerous, among other products of theirs), then that is their choice.

    Speaking of choice, it's interesting that those "big food" brands listed in this article: Dean Foods (owns Horizon), General Mills (owns Cascadian Farm), and Kellogg (owns Kashi) all donated money through their front group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to defeat Proposition 522 in Washington which would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms in food. Kellogg and General Mills also donated against the GMO labeling Proposition 37 in California.

    Whole Foods is great, but I would encourage anyone who is against GMOs to boycott Kellogg, General Mills, and Dean Foods (and their sub-brands, even if they are "organic").

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