Non-GMO and Organic Market Update for August 16, 2017

Non-GMO and Organic Market Update for August 16, 2017

Around the Markets

Midwest organic corn prices are subdued, as robust activity during the first half of the year has given way to light volume. Although demand remains healthy, buyers are now locked up in contracts, as they attempted to cover demand before the planting season. Growing yields and a strong carryover are likely to keep prices capped near $8.00 per bushel. Food grade corn prices are moderating, and are seen trading near $10.00 per bushel. Similar to conventional crop varieties, organic yields are expected to be huge in the new crop. According to the USDA’s Crop Production report released on August 12th, the 2016/17 total U.S. corn production should be at a record high of 15.15 billion bushels, which would represent an increase of 11%, year-over-year.

Midwest organic soybeans edged slightly higher, to the $17.50-18.25 per bushel range. Beans are also forecast to experience record yields, but conventional prices have been buoyed following news of large U.S. exports to China. Bean oil is seeing lots of activity, as crushers continue to try to meet the demand for meal. Meal imports have also increased as traders from South America attempt to take advantage of robust U.S. demand.

In the News

China Adds GMO Cultivation in Soybeans, Corn

China’s latest five-year plan for science and technology stole headlines last week. The document, published on the Chinese government’s website, presented plans for the country to commence production of GE soybeans and corn, for the first time. To date, China has not permitted the cultivation of GE corn or soybeans, though it has already eased regulations in other GMO markets, such as cotton. The initiative comes as the Asian nation seeks to revamp its crop production infrastructure. The country is the largest global purchaser of soybeans, with imports expected to reach 87.0 million metric tons in the 2016/17 marketing year; corn production is more robust, and, on a net basis, Chinese buyers purchase less from overseas.

While China has long-permitted the import of GE crop varieties, Chinese citizens often prefer non-GMO food products, citing perceived health and environmental risks associated with GMOs. As such, the deregulation of GMO soy varieties—used regularly in food, such as tofu and oils—might face more headwinds than corn, which is generally produced as a feed ingredient. The news of the push for increased GMO production comes at the same time that the country’s government rejected a proposal that would have set aside specific cultivation zones for non-GMO varieties. (Global Times; Reuters; USDA).

Industry Watchdog Labels Danone Bid Anti-Competitive

A complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission states that the proposed purchase of WhiteWave Foods by Danone threatens the competitiveness of the domestic organic dairy industry. The pending buyout would put WhiteWave in the same organization that already houses Activa, Oikos, Dannon, Horizon, and the U.S.’ largest organic yogurt label, Stonyfield. The Cornucopia Group, a watchdog in the organic industry, submitted its objection last week, accompanied by the commentary that the merger “could eventually reduce options and raise prices for consumers.” (PRNewsire).

Acquisition in Distribution Space

Corporate activity continues, with specialty food distributor United Natural Foods (UNFI) buying up Gourmet-Guru. The purchase represents UNFI’s fourth acquisition in a year. UNFI said the acquisition would help to identify emerging fresh and organic brands. (SuperMarketNews).

Organic Canned Fruit Market to Near $11 Billion

A new research report, from industry group TMR, indicates that the canned organic fruit market will reach $10.8 billion by 2019, representing nearly a 15% increase from the market size seen in 2015. The publication estimates that Europe will account for approximately 45% of the market share; it also notes that the top three producing firms currently meet more than half of the global demand for canned organic fruits. (Yahoo!Finance).

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