April 27, 2016

Dannon Wants to Be GMO-Free by 2019

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Dannon announced today that it hopes to have  its milk supply produced with GMO-free feed within three years. And by December 2017, it will declare the presence of any GMO ingredients remaining on its product labels.

In the release, “Dannon commits to offer products coming from a more sustainable agriculture by working with its dairy farmer partners and their suppliers to progressively implement the use of sustainable agriculture practices and technology that leads to better soil health, better water management, an increase in biodiversity, and a decrease in carbon emission.”

The first result of this initiative will come in July when Dannon will move to more natural ingredients not containing GMOs in its flagship brands of Oikos, Danimals and Dannon. “Starting in 2017 and completing the transformation by the end of 2018, Dannon will work with its farmer partners to ensure that the cows that supply Dannon’s milk for these flagship products will be fed non-GMO feed, a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker. To further improve transparency, by December 2017, Dannon’s labels will note the presence of GMO ingredients in all products in which such ingredients remain,” says the company.

The question, of course, is whether Dannon will compensate farmers if costs rise by going to GMO-free feeds. "The cost-performance model is currently employed with several of Dannon's farmers," says Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director of Public Relations at Dannon. "It is an option for us to consider with a dairy producer when it makes sense for both us and them.  And it's evaluated on a case-by-case basis."

And even if it has to pay farmers more, Dannon doesn't believe its yogurt prices will rise.  Says Neuwirth:"It is our belief that continued growth in sales will minimize and ultimately offset any difference.  We don’t believe that good food has to be more expensive or inaccessible – it just has to be made in the best way possible."