Germany expects to see record Non-GMO food sales

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/ermetico
© istock/ermetico
It seems demand in Germany for Non-GMO milk and dairy products, eggs and poultry remains unabated.

If forecast data proves correct, this year food producers will sell €7bn worth of dairy, poultry and egg products that are certified against a government backed non-GMO food seal to the German supermarkets.

The German Association of Food without Genetic Engineering (VLOG), which runs the country’s non-GMO certification - Ohne GenTechnik – scheme, said that figure would represent an increase of 27% when compared to sales of Non-GMO food products in Germany in 2017.

The €7bn sales predictions for 2018 are based on the forecasting of the licensees of the ‘Ohne GenTechnik’ seal, said VLOG. 

og vlog seal

VLOG represents food producers and merchants as well as up- and down-stream areas of the food production industry. It promotes food manufactured without genetic engineering and engages in consumer education. VLOG awards licenses for the uniform 'Ohne GenTechnik' seal for food and the 'VLOG geprüft' seal for feed produced according to its 'Ohne Gentechnik' Production and Certification Standard. 

In 2017, the food processing industry sold €5.44bn worth of food with the ‘Ohne GenTechnik’ seal. Milk and dairy products made up the most significant part, at €3.06bn (56%). Sales of poultry products totalled €1.36bn (25%), and eggs came in at €772m (14%), reported the association.

When asked whether there are any challenges with supply of certified feed to cover such growing production, Alexander Hissting, general manager of VLOG, told us.

“It is not a challenge at all. The biggest growth is in the dairy sector, where soy is not an essential part of the feed ration. Protein supply in addition to grass and grains can be covered by rapeseed meal, for example. The challenge might be bigger, when larger parts of pork production switch to Non-GMO. But even then it will not be a problem. For one, we have growing supplies of European soy and Brazilian soy producers keep stressing that they are able to adapt to a growth in demand.”

Will German supermarkets soon stock Non-GMO salmon?

While all German retailers are involved in terms of stocking ‘Ohne GenTechnik’ products, he said the discounter, Lidl, would seem to be a bit faster than others in introducing new products or product ranges.

“It will be interesting to see which retailer will be the first one stocking Non-GMO labelled salmon. I expect to see such movement this year, following our announcement of a cooperative project with GLOBAL GAP in May​.”

Due to the size of the German market, foreign food producers are getting more and more interested in supplying the growing Non-GMO market, said Hissting.

Dutch cheese

Indeed, Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina said it sees that demand from German customers for its VLOG standard cheese is increasing, and it wants to capitalize on that, but the processor needs more milk that meets this standard.

Last year, it ran a pilot program, whereby 183 of its member farmers were involved in the production of milk for cheese that complied with the German program. Earlier this month, the processor asked dairy farmers in the vicinity of the cheese plants in Born and Workum in the Netherlands to start producing milk adhering to the VLOG standard.

When asked what percentage of foreign entities are involved in the supply of VLOG standard compliant egg, poultry and dairy products to the German retail market, Hissting said:

“We don’t have any figures on that, but if I would have to estimate I’d say 5-10% are being supplied by foreign companies. The percentage might be a bit higher in the egg industry and a bit lower for dairy products.”

He said that, currently, there are 297 feed companies, both domestic and foreign, that are certified under the VLOG standard

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