First Cheerios went nonGMO. Now, just two weeks later, that classic crunchy breakfast tummy-filler Grape Nuts has announced its Non-GMO certification.
Grape Nuts, like Cheerios, didn’t have far to go. The venerable breakfast cereal, circa 1897, is made mainly from whole wheat and barley, which are not GMO-crops (wheat has been genetically modified, but it hasn’t made it into commercial production yet).
So in practical terms, not much changes. Post Cereals will have to source the small amount of soy protein in the cereal from non-GMO soybeans, or it can back the soy back out. This is what it’s doing with the Grape-Nuts Vintage, which brings back the old non-soy formula.
Some are asking, is this just a cheap appeal to consumers worried about GMOs to try to bolster a brand? Um, yeah. Obviously, it‘s pretty easy to get the certification when the product contains virtually no genetically modified ingredients.
But the end result of this move by Post could still be big. For starters, Grape-Nuts consumers won’t have to worry that genetic tinkering will deleteriously affect their intestines or raise their risk of cancer, two of several problems that GMO critics say could be the result of eating foods engineered to resist or produce their own pesticides.
Is Post is playing a hand? You bet. You only need to check out the long list of Non-GMO cereals at the NonGMO Project to see that mainline cereal brands have some stout competition these days. Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday, Barbara’s, Natures Path, Crofter’s Organic, Eden Foods – they all have entire lines of breakfast cereals that are GMO-free, and many are organic too.
Still this toe-dipping, self-serving move by Post should thrill health-conscious consumers and environmentalists because it brings more attention to the vastly under-studied and shifty matter of genetic modification of our staple crops.
Not only does it bring awareness to consumers in the mainline cereal aisle (where let’s face it, prices typically trump conscious consuming), it sends a little warning bell to farmers on the GM-hamster wheel that non-GMO ingredients are getting a teensy more valuable.
This all furthers the non-GMO movement.
Sure, it would be more helpful if Post kicked genetically modified ingredients out of cereals more deeply invested in GMOs, like Blueberry Morning or Golden Crisp, which both contain corn syrup that’s almost certainly from GM corn.
But for now, Post can test the market with non-GMO Grape-Nuts. They’ll mostly be preaching to the choir. Grape-Nuts is one of the healthiest cereals around with an impressive 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of sugar per ½ cup serving. But if Post can kick new life into this brand, a lot of people could be better for it.