Why Use Non-GMO Cane Sugar? If The Hershey Company is...

To formulate non-GMO foods, chose cane sugar over beet sugar

Butter and brown sugar for cookies
Choose cane sugar to know your sugar is not GMO. Susie Wyshak

Back when a Hershey's Chocolate factory churned out Kisses in California's Central Valley, the idea of locally sourced dairy, almonds and sugar (from beets) was quite thrilling to this locavore.

Over the years, America's beet supply, and thus beet sugar supply, has largely transitioned to genetically modified beets. Big candy companies and other food manufacturers using beet sugar have found themselves a target of anti-GMO ingredients activists.The "simple" solution for entrepreneurs who want to sell their own food products on store shelves or in restaurants should use cane sugar instead of beet sugar.

Do Like Hershey

Jeff Beckman, a Hershey Company representative, confirmed that as part of its commitment to simplifying Hershey's ingredients, the company is transitioning from beet sugar to cane sugar. Here's what he had to say:

"We are currently leading industry conversations with suppliers and building our manufacturing capabilities to pursue non-genetically modified ingredients. Currently, we offer Scharffen Berger Chocolates, organic Dagoba Chocolates, Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and Hershey’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate that do not contain genetically modified ingredients.  In 2015, you can expect products in our snacking portfolio that include non-genetically modified ingredients. We will be transitioning some of our most popular chocolate brands, including Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, by [2015] year end."

Include Cane Sugar In Your Ingredients Plan

Cane sugar is one crop that has not been genetically modified.

In other words, while you will see some sugar companies choosing to apply for Non-GMO Project Verified seals for their cane sugar, in reality anyone who works with sugar should know that (as of now anyway) all cane sugar is non-GMO.

Additionally, all Certified Organic sugar is non-genetically modified.

That is because organic certification guidelines prohibit GMO ingredients. If you see Certified Organic beet sugar or sugar made from other sources, it will not be genetically modified.

List of Major Cane Sugar Brands

Artisan candy makers, bakers and any natural food makers can feel confident that when buying cane sugar or evaporated cane juice, you're getting sugar that is not genetically modified, and you can note that on your labels. A conglomerate called ASR owns most of the cane sugar brands including Tate & Lyle's of the UK, popular among candy makers for its Golden Syrup.

Popular pure cane sugar brands include:

Only time will tell how the move among Hershey, Mars and other food manufacturers to using cane sugar will impact prices and whether the beet industry can and will transition to non-GMO beets.

A Final Word On Why Non-GMO Makes a Smart Strategy

When cooking at home or formulating new food products for your business, choosing cane sugar will align yourself with consumers' preferences and the increasingly mainstream trend to buy or make non-GMO packaged foods . If you own a small busiess, but want to think globally, choosing cane sugar expands your exporting possibilities.

Many countries do not allow foods with genetically modified ingredients. In other words, what's good for people and the planet is good for business.