Since the time genetically modified (or GMO) foods were given a “go ahead” by the FDA for consumption, there have been quite some discussions over their safety for humans. However, in spite of all the hindrances and criticism, the GMO food market has started gaining acceleration in recent years given the nutritional benefits it offers. Though the GMO food market is still in its nascent stage and there is a long distance before they reach the shelves, the demand for GMO foods is increasing on a continuous basis. Among the varied types of GMO foods, the stacked traits, which includes the mixing more than one transgene, is predicted by experts to grow at the fastest rate as compared to insect Resistance (IR) and Herbicide Tolerance (HT).
With a global rise in the demand of increasing production capacities with limited resources, together with the push towards the minimum use of pesticides are the key factors that experts believe will be driving the demand for the GMO foods in future. Furthermore, the spike in the demand of nutritious food items with longer shelf lives are also helping the GMO food market to grow in recent times, and the trend is expected to remain the same, if not increase argue experts.
Genetic pollution creation in soil has been one of the principal reasons for the decline in the GMO foods market. Furthermore, governments are also enlisting very strict regulations for growing GMO food. The GMO foods haven’t yet found wide social acceptance, and hence there is still a lack of awareness amongst quite a significant proportion of people. The market is still developing, with a significant untapped global market, which professionals and experts believe is up for grabs. It is for this reason that governments across the globe are actively trying to promote GMO foods, and organizations are more and more conducting events and forums to discuss related topics, reaffirm processes, sketch out alternative approaches and provide insights about how the industry needs to adapt to the changing customer needs.
Geographically, North America is the largest market for GMO foods with about93% of soybean, 86% of corn and 90% of cotton genetically engineered in the USA. Canada, however, currently produces only four types of GM crops: soy, corn, sugar beet and canola. Europe imports a large percentage of GM products (approx. 60 GM foods are currently imported from other countries with 17 new foods being given a “go ahead”, notable among which are soybean, maize, sugar beet and cotton. Given the rising demand and reforms adopted in the region, experts believe that Europe is all set to become one of the major importers of GMO foods in the years to come. With countries in the Asia-Pacific region witnessing steady GDP growths in recent years, is becoming the fastest growing market for GMO foods. India and China will have a great role to play in this aspect.
Hence all said and done, if the estimations of experts are to be believed, with rising demands and governmental push, the GMO foods are all set to be one of the largest growing markets in the future. The market for the products is huge and untapped, paving the way for rapid growth in the coming years. Some of the key players dominating the GM foods market are DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, BASF, Sakata, and Group Limagrain among others.
Author: Pratik Patra
Pratik is a Writer, Artist, and Technocrat from India. He is an engineer from IIT Bombay and is currently pursuing his MBA from XIMB.