On Wednesday, April 3rd, Ben & Jerry’s hosted a workshop for Vermont’s specialty food producers to share the experience of their transition source only non-GMO ingredients across all of their products. Ben & Jerry’s staff from sourcing and R&D talked through the process of re-formulating flavors and what it takes to source non-GMO ingredients. Chris Miller from Ben & Jerry’s said, “as we move through our transition, we will end up sourcing only non-GMO ingredients across all of our products, and we will do it without raising the cost of a pint or eroding the products’ margins”.
The event was well attended, with roughly 40 representatives from 18 different companies in attendance, as representatives from Ben & Jerry’s outlined their process for finding non-GE sources for some of their ingredients that currently rely on GE foodstuffs. In reformulating, Ben & Jerry’s hopes to provide a good example of transparency in the food system, expanding their consumer base in the process.
Still, they expect to see very little negative impact on their profit margins. One of the major points of the presentation was the potential benefits of a Vermont marketplace in which GE foods are labeled. Ben & Jerry’s is optimistic that labeling GE foods will lead many companies to reformulate their products, driving demand for non-GE crops and strengthening Vermont’s natural foods brand.