It's been a bad week for Kashi: After a natural grocer took a stand against selling Kashi products because of their genetically modified (GM) and non-organic ingredients, consumers took to social media networks to express their anger. Now, the cereal company is unfolding new plans to use as many non-GM ingredients as possible.
A press release today unviled the "Project Verified" initiative, which would require all Kashi Go Lean cereals and Kashi Chewy Granola Bars (the company's best-sellers) to be non-GMO verified by 2014. Beginning in 2015, all new Kashi products wil have to have at least 70 percent non-GMO ingredients. Kashi's general manager David DeSouza said in the statement, "This issue is larger than just Kashi and requires time and collaboration across many partners within the food system. Only by working together can we match supply with demand and provide a long-term solution."
The act is one step to contain the backlash set off by a Rhode Island natural grocerer. Viral word spread after John Wood, owner of Green Grocer, posted a note saying he would no longer carry Kashi products due to the GMO and non-organic ingredients used. Facebook and Twitter followers took to company pages to complain that they felt duped.
In response, Kashi posted a video claiming that inaccurate information about Kashi products was being spread, and that the GMO ingredients used were "beyond their control." Said one nutritionist for Kashi, "While it’s likely that some of our foods contain GMOs... the main reason for that is because in North America well over 80 percent of many crops inclding soy beans are grown using GMOs. Factors outside our control … have led to an environment where GMOs are not sufficiently controlled.”