WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Because consumer preferences are continuing to evolve and Dannon puts consumers at the center of every decision it makes, today the nation's leading yogurt maker is implementing the first of many major changes to provide more choice to consumers. Beginning today, new yogurts with non-GMO ingredients are available for the first time from Dannon. Unveiled today are the first Dannon® and Oikos® branded products that contain more natural and non-GMO ingredients. This is the beginning of the transformation of the company's Danimals, Oikos and Dannon brands, which over time will evolve to contain non-GMO ingredients to add more choices to the most diverse range of yogurts available in the U.S. Additionally, starting now and expected to be completed within several months, all Dannon products in the U.S. that have GMO ingredients will be clearly labeled as such, independent of actions taken (or not) by the federal government. Starting in 2017 and completing the transformation by the end of 2018, Dannon will go one step further to ensure that the cows that supply Dannon's milk for these three flagship brands will be fed non-GMO feed, a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker. This will involve the conversion of an estimated 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-GMO crops in order to provide non-GMO feed for the milk used to make Dannon, Oikos and Danimals® brand products.
To announce these sweeping changes, Dannon, with three NGO collaborators, are hosting a Dannon Pledge press briefing today at 10am in New York, which can be viewed globally on the company's YouTube page [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2b_0PS9Dag].
"Shoppers are our main ingredient, and what is important to them drives what we do. For this reason, the range of products we make is evolving to provide even more choices," said Mariano Lozano, CEO, Dannon. "Transparency is the key word for this shift. To show to our consumers that in order to make a real choice, we need clear labels, today we are making a bold change and candidly discussing how transparency from brands is essential for shoppers to make real choices."
The first yogurt-maker and big food company to make such sweeping changes, Dannon is leading the food industry's efforts to keep shoppers informed with information and empowered with choice. The company has partnered with leading NGOs to reach their goals: Green America and the Non-GMO Project. And Chairman of Just Label It!, Gary Hirshberg, is playing a key stakeholder role.
With Green America [http://www.greenamerica.org/], the collaboration will focus primarily on developing the availability of non-GMO cow feed. With The Non-GMO Project [http://www.nongmoproject.org/], the collaboration is expected to lead to Dannon's use of their unique third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO verified food and products. And, with Just Label It! [http://www.justlabelit.org/], Chairman Gary Hirshberg will continue to play a key stakeholder role in the fulfillment of the Dannon Pledge.
The increased transparency in labeling is among the first steps in the Dannon Pledge [www.dannonpledge.com], a public commitment announced earlier this year to provide shoppers with more options. In the Pledge, Dannon commits to further improving sustainable agriculture practices around its milk supply, increasing transparency of its portfolio of products, and evolving to more natural and fewer ingredients for its flagship Dannon, Danimals and Oikos brands, which account for approximately half of the company's sales. To build awareness for its efforts, Dannon launched a new social media campaign this month featuring "straight talk" from moms about why choice matters [www.DannonPledge.com].
"Choosing to purchase foods with fewer or more natural ingredients, or with or without GMO ingredients, is an important individual decision, and we feel strongly that people have the right to know how companies are making food. This is just the first of many steps towards our continued transparency and one that we hope others will follow," said Lozano. "And we're not just doing this alone. Dannon is proud to have the support of the Non-GMO Project, Green America and Just Label It."
Beginning in early 2017, Dannon will go one step further by working with feed suppliers and its farmer partners to start planting non-GMO feed to fulfill its pledge that the cows that supply milk for the company's three flagship brands will be fed non-GMO feed, a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker. This is slated to be completed by the end of 2018. Once these changes are implemented, these products from the three brand families will contain milk from cows fed only non-GMO feed.
Dannon has been and is continuing to implement animal welfare practices at its farmer partners' operations via the Validus Certification system. Now, more than 90% of Dannon's direct milk supply comes from farms that are Validus Certified.
More information about Dannon's new labeling for Dannon, Oikos and Danimals brands as well as future changes are available at www.DannonPledge.com, and on Dannon's Facebook and Twitter channels.
About The Dannon Company Headquartered in White Plains, New York, Dannon makes yogurt in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, West Jordan, UT, and Portland, OR, and offers more than 200 different flavors, styles and sizes of cultured refrigerated and frozen dairy products to serve the diverse needs of its retail and foodservice customers. Dannon brings health through food to as many people as possible via its wide offering of delicious and nutritious fresh and frozen yogurts. Dannon is committed to encouraging Americans to eat one yogurt every day with a convenient, popular and nutrient dense food as a simple step that can help Americans achieve healthy dietary patterns.
Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, and Danone is the top-selling brand of yogurt worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone. For more information, visit www.dannon.com.