Will There Be Enough Quality Ingredients to Meet Growing Demands?
As we mentioned last week, GMOs have become increasingly widespread, and even organic food can be tainted. As awareness about GMOs has risen, demand for organic food and supplements has risen, as well--particularly in Europe. Some European manufacturers are starting to use organic materials as a manufacturing quality control standard. Even conventionally manufactured materials are reducing pesticide use, etc. In the US, packaged organics were worth $13.4bn in 2015; yet only 1% of national crop space met the standards for organic production. Demand is booming, and more farmers are trying to make the switch.
However, demand does not always mean supply--it could simply mean the illusion of supply. In the US just last year, President Obama signed a GMO labelling bill. This bill made many supplement manufacturers nervous, as GMOs are also prevalent in supplements. A Natural Products Insider article states, "For example, in many nutritional supplement products, soy lecithin is a common ingredient that may be derived from GMO soy. Same for ingredients derived from corn, 90 percent of which is genetically engineered. Such corn-derived ingredients as maltodextrin, citric acid and cornstarch are often included in nutritional supplements as binders, fillers, excipients, etc. Commercial-grade vitamin C is often processed from GMO corn; vitamin E is similarly derived from GMO soy. Gelatin in gel caps may come from cows given GMO feed over a lifetime. The list goes on, and considering the number of ingredients in any given multivitamin, disclosing for GMOs is a potential migraine headache for supplement manufacturers." Still, for many, this fear would be unfounded; many supplement makers would not have to disclose GMO material because of a loophole that states material must be genetic material to be labelled "genetically modified." Thus, anything not containing actual genetic material (for example GMO soybean oil) would be exempt. Even the FDA recognizes that the lack of universal standards has led to "dangerous public health consequences." In fact, they are launching a system called PREDICT to scan imports for their risk levels.
For those who are genuinely trying to follow organic guidelines, even meeting the qualifications is a challenge. To become certified organic, farmers must avoid using prohibited products (such as certain pesticides) for 3 years, and during this transition time, they cannot increase prices. This means the increased cost of doing organic business falls on their shoulders until they are certified. Organic crops also have 10-20% lower yields--however, they excel in being more profitable and environmentally friendly. It just goes to show that the best choices are often the harder choices, and those who make the sacrifice should be supported and appreciated.
While we hope that organic products will continue their resurgence, we should not take for granted that organic sources will always be protected. This is why our cost for raw materials is so high--they are becoming increasingly difficult to source. As climate change, water shortages, and scarcity of quality food become more prevalent, non-GMO supplements may become the only means for maintaining one's health. Support of the natural food industry is more important now than ever; as we keep each other accountable, we can do our part to contribute to a brighter future.
With over 10 years of experience, Bond Consulting is a leader in the SR&ED industry. The SR&ED program is designed to support innovative companies with cash reimbursements from the Canadian Government due to their private R&D efforts. (www.bondconsulting.ca)