Sales of clearly-labelled foods soar

06th January 2014 - Fine Cut

Sales of food items that have been clearly marked with an eco-label have soared in the US, as consumers grow increasingly interested in the origins of products.

Ongoing disagreements over the labelling of genetically-modified (GM) items has fuelled demand for organic and other types of identification in the food manufacturing industry, which could have a significant impact on companies operating in the UK.

Consultancy Organic Monitor was quoted by Fruit Net as saying the US is in the midst of a surge in certified food product sales, as retailers respond to calls for greater transparency from members of the public.

The changing consumer behaviour has led to a proliferation in eco-labels - such as Organic Rainforest Alliance and Certified Humane - that reassure individuals that foods are ethically grown and sourced.

"Many consumers are buying organic products because they provide assurance they do not contain GM ingredients," the company said. "In the absence of mandatory GM labelling, Organic Monitor projects organic food sales will reach US$50 billion (£30.5 billion)  by 2018."

Food labelling methods have been on the receiving end of a great deal of speculation in recent months, as international governments continue to debate how much information should be provided on food packaging.

In the UK, the National Farmers Union and the National Pig Association said new methods introduced in supermarkets could actually be more confusing for shoppers, rather than helping them to make informed decisions.

As part of the plans, the European Union Food Information Regulation will inform individuals where livestock has been reared and slaughtered. However, the bodies claimed this could actually be unclear to shoppers.

Officials in Italy have also criticised a new traffic light labelling system, claiming some of its most famous exports - including Parmesan cheese - could suffer if members of the public are aware of the exact ingredients.

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