Dannon Makes Non-GMO Yogurt Options Available
With The Non-GMO Project, collaboration is expected to lead to Dannon's use of unique third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO verified food and products
New yogurts with non-GMO ingredients are available for the first time from Dannon. Unveiled today are the first Dannon® and Oikos® branded products that contain more natural and non-GMO ingredients. This is the beginning of the transformation of the company's Danimals, Oikos and Dannon brands, which over time will evolve to contain non-GMO ingredients to add more choices to the most diverse range of yogurts available in the US. Additionally, starting now and expected to be completed within several months, all Dannon products in the US that have GMO ingredients will be clearly labeled as such, independent of actions taken (or not) by the federal government. Starting in 2017 and completing the transformation by the end of 2018, Dannon will go one step further to ensure that the cows that supply Dannon's milk for these three flagship brands will be fed non-GMO feed, a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker. This will involve the conversion of an estimated 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-GMO crops in order to provide non-GMO feed for the milk used to make Dannon, Oikos and Danimals® brand products.
With Green America [http://www.greenamerica.org/], the collaboration will focus primarily on developing the availability of non-GMO cow feed. With The Non-GMO Project [http://www.nongmoproject.org/], the collaboration is expected to lead to Dannon's use of their unique third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO verified food and products. And, with Just Label It! [http://www.justlabelit.org/], Chairman Gary Hirshberg will continue to play a key stakeholder role in the fulfillment of the Dannon Pledge.
The increased transparency in labeling is among the first steps in the Dannon Pledge [www.dannonpledge.com], a public commitment announced earlier this year to provide shoppers with more options. In the Pledge, Dannon commits to further improving sustainable agriculture practices around its milk supply, increasing transparency of its portfolio of products, and evolving to more natural and fewer ingredients for its flagship Dannon, Danimals and Oikos brands, which account for approximately half of the company's sales. To build awareness for its efforts, Dannon launched a new social media campaign this month featuring "straight talk" from moms about why choice matters [www.DannonPledge.com].
"Choosing to purchase foods with fewer or more natural ingredients, or with or without GMO ingredients, is an important individual decision, and we feel strongly that people have the right to know how companies are making food. This is just the first of many steps towards our continued transparency and one that we hope others will follow," said Lozano. "And we're not just doing this alone. Dannon is proud to have the support of the Non-GMO Project, Green America and Just Label It."
Beginning in early 2017, Dannon will go one step further by working with feed suppliers and its farmer partners to start planting non-GMO feed to fulfill its pledge that the cows that supply milk for the company's three flagship brands will be fed non-GMO feed, a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker. This is slated to be completed by the end of 2018. Once these changes are implemented, these products from the three brand families will contain milk from cows fed only non-GMO feed.
Dannon has been and is continuing to implement animal welfare practices at its farmer partners' operations via the Validus Certification system. Now, more than 90% of Dannon's direct milk supply comes from farms that are Validus Certified.