Bunge Launches Non-GMO Corn Line
Consumer demand for non-GMO foods continues to climb, however, producers often find it difficult to source sufficient commodity supplies to meet production goals. Vermont’s recent passing of its GMO labeling law and the lack of a national standard have only drawn further attention to non-GMO foods.
Amid this shifting market, after four years of working toward the goal, Bunge Milling began milling a line of non-GMO verified corn products at its Crete, Nebraska plant that it plans to bring to scale within the coming months.
“There are a couple smaller players in the space,” said Wade Ellis, vice-president of milling, Bunge North America, St. Louis. “But there was no option for a large food manufacturer to scale up a program. Representatives of major brands are clearly interested in non-GMO corn products, but that couldn’t happen unless we initiated some type of program.”
While GM corn accounts for the bulk of U.S. corn production, non-GMO corn accounts for between 6% and 7%, or hundreds of millions of bushels. But, in order to ensure a standard of non-GMO content, Bunge has had to shift its sourcing methods.
“Ten years ago, nearly all of our corn was sourced from grain elevators,” said Ellis. “Today, 80% comes directly from growers. It is working well, and it is easier to deploy into non-GMO using that same system, that choice group of growers.”
“In any event, there is enough production of non-GMO corn for us to manage the volume we need,” Ellis said. “We have gone to a number of growers to participate. For now, we are seeking a larger number of growers to produce non-GMO corn on fewer acres in order to prove the process can be successful and to allow escalation over time as needed.”