The Non-GMO Project was created in 2007 by two grocery stores, The Natural Grocery Company in Berkeley, California and The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto, Ontario—both of which had spent the preceding years working diligently to provide their customers with more information about GMOs. The Natural Grocery Company had rallied 161 stores in a letter-writing campaign asking manufacturers about the GMO status of their products. The Big Carrot Natural Food Market developed their own non-GMO purchasing policy after more than a year of research. They combined their efforts into the Non-GMO Project with the goal of creating a standardized definition for non-GMO products in the North American food industry.
To give the Project the rigorous scientific foundation and world-class technical support necessary for this endeavor, the organization began working with FoodChain ID, the world leaders in non-GMO testing, certification, and consulting. Since that time, the Project has added three technical advisors, with a global reach of testing and verification services.
In the spring of 2007, the Project expanded its Board of Directors to include representatives from all stakeholder groups in the natural products industry, including consumers, retailers, farmers, and manufacturers. Working to give the organization a solid foundation comprised of as many perspectives as possible, this dynamic Board then formed advisory committees for both technical and policy issues.
After revising several early drafts of the Non-GMO Project Standard, the first products to bear “the Butterfly” reached the marketplace in early 2010. The Product Verification Program has grown steadily since, with more than 3,000 verified brands, representing over 50,000 products and more than $26 billion in sales. Because of consumer demand across North America, Non-GMO Project Verified products remain one of the fastest growing sectors in the marketplace and the Butterfly is the most trusted label for GMO avoidance among shoppers today.