Food Manufacturing Q&A: Marlo Gertz Talks Non-GMO Verification Process

Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to correspond with Marlo Gertz of Marlo's Bakeshop about the Non-GMO verification process the business recently completed.

In mid-December, Marlo's Bakeshop of San Francisco announced that it had completed the screening and analysis process to earn Non-GMO Project Verified status for its signature line of soft-baked biscotti.

Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to correspond with Marlo Gertz about the process.

Q. Why did you decide to go through the Non-GMO process?

It was a way to show our customers that, as a brand, Marlo’s Bakeshop is committed to using the highest quality, natural ingredients as possible in our products.

Q. What did the Non-GMO process entail?

It took about a year for us but I believe the length of time can vary greatly depending upon your product, how quickly your suppliers respond to your information requests and how quickly you get back to the verifying organization.  The process entailed us detailing our ingredients, who we get them from and the amount they comprise any given finished product in our line. Then, you get requests for additional information from certain suppliers depending upon the origin of the ingredient.  You go back and forth a bit with your supplier and the verifying organization but ultimately everyone knows what goal we’re working towards and is generally cooperative and helpful.

Q. You are a small business owner. Can you give insight into anything small business owners should know as they decide if it is worth it to go through the process?

You have to evaluate whether it is important to you as a business owner to use the ingredients needed to be Non-GMO and, also, if your customers will be aware of and care about your products being Non-GMO verified.  If you are not concerned about it as a brand but your customers are, you may want to look at the opportunity. If neither parties care, perhaps it’s not worth the expense for you.  

Q. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that looks at how organic and non-GMO companies push for prominence and meaning for their labels. What are your thoughts on the topic covered in the article?

I think it shows that the consumer needs to be better informed about the differences between Non-GMO & Organic, and how both certifications affect them and their buying choices. As food manufacturers, part of our job is to educate our customers as to why we’ve made choices to pursue certain certifications so that they can understand our brand values and see if they align with them. At the end of the day, they may not, but at least they have better insight then into what all these logos on our packaging mean and can make their buying choices accordingly. 

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