Non-G.M.O., organic bring challenges

While it might be easy to assume that the introduction of the added sugars line to the Nutrition Facts Panel would be driving conversations about sweetener alternatives, that doesn’t seem to be the case. At least not in the experience of Jim Kappas, vice-president of sales and marketing for Malt Products Corp.

“At this time, non-G.M.O. and organic claims are probably the biggest driver,” he said.

These claims are just another dimension of consumers’ quest for clean label ingredients. Barley, the grain source for malt, is a non-G.M.O. grain, so this falls in nicely with the trend toward non-G.M.O. ingredients.

For honey to be considered organic, no G.M.O. crops are allowed within a two-mile zone of the beehives producing the honey. That eliminates much of the United States as available to produce organic honey. For non-G.M.O., the regulations are even tighter.

“For third party non-G.M.O. certification, there is a four-mile exclusion zone,” said Jon Bodner, vice-president of food technology for Sweetener Supply Corp. That further eliminates many supply sources outside of the US and leaves, according to Mr. Bodner, places as remote as the Amazon Rainforest as a source for non-G.M.O. honey.

“The two-mile regulation is still doable for parts of Mexico, Brazil and a little bit of Canada and India,” Mr. Bodner said. “Some of the countries that don’t allow G.M.O. crops in the first place can source non-G.M.O. honey, but those have smaller bee-keeping communities, so they’re not usually large exporters.”