Non-GM demand prompts ADM Japan move

Related tags Japan

Japanese consumers are among the most demanding in the world when
it comes to food safety and quality, and so it is no surprise that
they are also among the most vociferous opponents of genetic
modification of food.

Consumers in Japan are prepared to pay a premium for food and ingredients which are GM-free, and this has created a lucrative business opportunity for companies which are able to guarantee the source of their products.

One such company is Archer Daniels Midland (ADM​), the US-based group which is the world's biggest processor of wheat, corn, soy and other grains. ADM already has an agreement with its Japanese counterpart Marubeni​ to supply grain to the Japanese food and feed industries, but it has now extended that agreement to include speciality grains and oilseeds - including non-GM products.

"ADM and Marubeni have enjoyed a long relationship in the field of conventional and speciality grains and oilseeds,"​ said Lew Batchelder, ADM senior vice president for grain and transportation at the US firm.

"With the Japanese government's implementation of the Food Hygiene Law & Feed Security Legislation, effective 1 July 2003, there has been a strong demand for products that meet the high standards of identity preservation as well as food and feed safety. This will utilise the strength of ADM's infrastructure to meet the strict standards of identity preservation required by consumers in Japan."

Takashi Ishigami, general manager of Marubeni's oilseeds division, echoed this sentiment. "By entering into this agreement, we are confident that we can continue to provide higher value added products to our customers. This will serve to expand the business for both conventional and speciality grains and oilseeds into the Asian market."

With consumers in both Europe and Japan proving highly resistant to GM products - a factor which has shaved billions of dollars off US farm exports in recent years - growth in the immediate future is much more likely to come from products which can be guaranteed GM-free.

But with many suppliers in the US at least switching increasingly to GM crops, demand for grain which is not genetically modified could potentially outstrip supplies - leaving companies such as ADM in an increasingly strong position to corner the market.

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