California-based Clover Farms is planning to release the nation’s first conventional non-GMO milk early next year. The milk will follow the guidelines of the Non-GMO Project and will absorb Clover’s conventional milk line. It will be sold alongside Clover's organic milk.
The non-GMO milk will not spike costs, according to the company; the product is projected to cost no more than 25 cents more than regular conventional milk per gallon. Clover plans to absorb the remaining cost to farmers newly sourcing non-GMO feed for the production of this product, to keep prices low for consumers.
Currently, the only non-GMO milk that consumers can purchase is certified organic milk, which is sold at a much higher price point than conventional, often upwards of eight dollars per gallon.
“The organic premium is just too much for a lot of families to sustain, but they want something more than the generic conventional milk that’s out there,” said Marcus Benedetti, president and CEO of Clover, of the decision to release this product.
“If the dairy case is any indication, and if all the other non-GMO products are any indication, it will find a market,” Sara Dorland, an analyst at the Daily Dairy Report, told SFGate. “I don’t necessarily think you’re going to switch those that are your core organic consumers, (but) those who go back and forth between organic and conventional from time to time — they may find some appeal with the conventional, non-GMO product.”
Clover plans to source the non-GMO feed from U.S. producers, who previously sent most of their non-GMO feed to Japan.
“Our hope is as we grow that base of non-GMO feed we can change the industry and ultimately the cost will go down,” said Benedetti.
Non-GMO milk must come from cows that are fed non-GMO feed, but the feed does not have to be organic. Farmers can also treat cows with antibiotics and growth hormones as needed, which is forbidden to those using the organic label.
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Image care of Clover Farms