LA JOLLA, Calif., April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For more than 25 years, Kashi has cared about making foods with the health of people and planet in mind. From avoiding the use of high fructose corn syrup since the day the company was formed, to today purchasing more than 35 million pounds of organic ingredients annually and being a partner of the Non-GMO Project, Kashi has always been part of progressing positive change.
Currently, about 70 percent of processed foods have genetically modified organisms (GMOs), more than 80 percent of many crops in North America are grown using GMOs and less than one percent of U.S. cropland is organic. Kashi believes that the current food system needs to evolve.
That's why today Kashi announced a big initiative to increase the company's availability of organic and Non-GMO Project Verified foods. By the end of 2014, all existing Kashi® GOLEAN® cereals and Kashi® Chewy Granola Bars—representing Kashi's biggest offerings—will be Non-GMO Project Verified. Beginning in 2015, all new Kashi foods introduced into the market will contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients and will also be Non-GMO Project Verified.
"This commitment meets the ever-evolving needs of our consumers," says David DeSouza, Kashi general manager. "As one of the largest food brands in the natural and organic marketplace, we are in a unique position to make a sizeable, positive impact on the food system."
Kashi's Non-GMO Project Verified Product Pledge
This long-term commitment follows the Non-GMO Project Verification of seven Kashi foods earlier this year, including Kashi Autumn Wheat®, Cinnamon Harvest®, Island Vanilla®, Strawberry Fields®, 7 Whole Grain Flakes and 7 Whole Grain Puffs cereals, and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf. In addition, two more cereals, Kashi Simply Maize and Kashi Indigo Morning™ cereals, are currently in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified.
The Non-GMO Project is the leading independent verifier of non-GMO foods and the only third-party verification system in the U.S. All Kashi products that have met its rigorous standard will carry the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, beginning with the seven cereals that have already completed the process.
The Product Verification Program is a rigorous, multi-step process involving segregation, traceability, risk assessment and ongoing testing of all major GMO risk ingredients at critical control points. Verification can take several months depending on many factors, including how many products a company enrolls at one time and the level of evaluation required for each ingredient.
"Products are not verified until their compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard has been fully demonstrated," explains Megan Westgate, Non-GMO Project executive director. "When people see the Non-GMO Project Verification mark on a product, they can trust that it's been made in compliance with the best possible practices for GMO avoidance."
The Kashi Journey
Since the launch of the company in 1984, Kashi has demonstrated commitment to creating values-based foods. For more than 25 years, Kashi has made a point to avoid the use of synthetic colors and artificial flavors, preservatives and sweeteners and has never used any high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils. In 1998, Kashi developed its own pesticide residue testing program called Veri-Pure™ and worked with an independent verifier to test its products for pesticide residues, holding itself to a level 10 times stricter than government standards. The following year, prior to the USDA National Organic Program, Kashi also began using organically grown ingredients in a line of pre-cooked hot cereals called Kashi go™.
The journey continued in 2002 when Kashi created a line of USDA Certified Organic cereals, and the company has increased its use of organic ingredients seven-fold since that time. Kashi's USDA Certified Organic cereals are the most widely available organic cereals in U.S. grocery stores. As a result, Kashi has been successful in supporting nearly 10,000 acres of organic cropland and purchasing more than 35 million pounds of organic ingredients per year.
Kashi is in a unique position to fundamentally increase the scale of non-GMO and organic supply chains in the U.S. food system. With this increase in Kashi's commitment, the company expects to nearly double its organic ingredient purchasing over the next few years. Because many of these supply chains don't exist yet, in order to fulfill its organic and Non-GMO Project Verified plan, Kashi has been working with farmers and suppliers for several years to help evolve more Non-GMO and organic ingredients.
"We support Kashi's work in transitioning to non-GMO ingredients and their increased use of certified organic ingredients in their products. A transition of this scale takes time but will result in an enormous positive impact for consumers and the environment. We commend Kashi for their leadership and dedication in this area and believe Kashi and other companies making such commitments should be applauded for their leadership, not vilified," comments Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer, National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), an organization that represents natural food co-ops throughout the country.
"Our team has been passionately committed to this journey for many years and we plan to continue aggressively with that commitment," adds DeSouza. "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."
About Kashi Company
Founded in 1984, Kashi dreams of a world where everyone embraces natural health. As a natural lifestyle pioneer, Kashi is passionate about and committed to improving the health of people and our planet. By providing great tasting, nutritious and innovative foods, Kashi enables people to achieve optimal health and wellness, while also leading them on a path toward embracing a natural lifestyle. Kashi encourages people to live healthier lives through its interactive online community at Kashi.com and the Kashi REAL Tour, a lifestyle immersion program and national grassroots tour that educates people about the importance of natural foods and healthy living. The company also champions non-profit organizations working to keep real food in the minds and hands of communities across the country through the Kashi REAL Project. To learn more about 25 years of Kashi's mission, sustainable efforts, values and roots, get inspired by the Yearbook on Kashi.com.
Kashi's products are natural, minimally processed and free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives and preservatives. Kashi® brands and foods include: GOLEAN® cereals and bars; Kashi® Heart to Heart® cereal, instant oatmeal and whole grain crackers; Kashi® 7 Whole Grain Puffs, Honey Puffs, Nuggets and Flakes cereals; Kashi® Good Friends® cereals; Kashi® Autumn Wheat®, Cinnamon Harvest®, Island Vanilla® and Strawberry Fields® (organic) cereals; Kashi® Honey Sunshine®, Berry Blossoms® and Golden Goodness™ cereals; Kashi U™ cereal; Cocoa Beach™, Mountain Medley® and Summer Berry™ granola; Kashi® Pita Crisps; Kashi® chewy and crunchy granola bars, layered granola bars, soft-baked cereal bars; Kashi® snack crackers and cookies; Kashi® all natural frozen waffles, entrées and pizzas; and Kashi® 7 Whole Grain Pilaf.
SOURCE Kashi Company