The Non-GMO Project was created to provide a trustworthy and rigorous way to avoid GMOs in food and personal care products. Simply put, the Project was created to serve you and millions of people like you. We serve everyone who grows, makes, buys, sells and eats food in the United States and Canada.
By maintaining the Non-GMO Project Standard and verifying products that are in compliance, our nonprofit organization serves the public and simultaneously protects the non-GMO food supply. Win-win.
Recently, the Non-GMO Project partnered with SPINS, a data and insight company in the natural and organic space, to assess how well the Butterfly was working for shoppers and brands. The report analyzes sales information for products that make a non-GMO claim.
The results were striking.
"Self-made claims aren't enough."
SPINS analyzed consumer data from the two year period between 2019 to 2021. The data compared Non-GMO Project Verified product sales with products with other certifications, self-made claims or no GMO claims at all.
We found that products with the Butterfly grew in popularity faster than comparable claims. Non-GMO Project Verified products showed more sales growth than Certified Organic or self-made non-GMO claims. A self-made GMO claim is when a product is labeled "Made without GMOs" or something similar but lacks an independent certification. When a brand makes its own non-GMO claim, it asks consumers to trust that claim without any evidence. For example, a self-made claim doesn't identify how ingredients are sourced or tracked, whether they are tested or how contamination is handled. There is no enforcement mechanism for violating the rules because there are no rules.
Both Non-GMO Project verification and USDA Organic certification are third-party certifications. Third-party certification means independent experts are responsible for evaluating products that apply for certification. Relying on independent, third-party experts upholds the certification's integrity by reducing conflicts of interest.
Clearly, eaters look for the Butterfly for non-GMO choices because they trust the value it provides.
Read more about third-party certification here.
Why do eaters look for the Butterfly?
People opt for Non-GMO Project Verified products for many different reasons. Some folks are concerned about corporations gaining control of the food system through restrictive patents, and others are motivated by the negative environmental impact of GMO agriculture. At the end of the day, the Butterfly helps you make a choice that aligns with your priorities and values.
Here are some of the ways Non-GMO Project verification can help you:
- Avoid greenwashing — Sustainability is more important than ever, but how can you tell which labels or claims have substance? The Butterfly relies on third-party certification to back up its mark, making it a clean food label you can trust.
- Make more natural choices — Non-GMO Project Verified products can help you make more natural choices, especially when shopping in the refrigerated or frozen food aisle.
- Shop with confidence — An estimated 70-80% of processed foods contain GMOs. With that saturation level, avoiding GMOs without a trustworthy certification is next to impossible.
The Butterfly means you don't need a comprehensive knowledge of GMOs and their derivatives. We do that work for you, and third-party certifiers ensure Verified products meet the Non-GMO Project Standard.
Choosing a better food system
While working with SPINS to analyze sales data, we noticed that products with the Butterfly saw a steeper rise in sales when compared with USDA Certified Organic products. Perhaps the Butterfly's success relates to the simplicity of the mark and the transparency of what it stands for — while the National Organic Program lists GMOs under "excluded methods," it does not require testing or determine action thresholds to enforce the exclusion. The phrase "organic is always non-GMO" is true in principle but not always in practice.
We're delighted that the most popular products had both certifications, Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic. We are great supporters of the organic movement and consider dual certification the gold standard of clean labels. With new GMOs entering the supply chain, the Butterfly is more important than ever.