France's taste for non-genetically modified food will be challenged this year as a global shortage of suitable soybean could raise prices of meat, egg and milk labelled GM-free by up to 10%, animal feed makers have warned.
GM crops are widely grown across the world, but they remain controversial in Europe, where very few varieties are authorised for growing and some countries like France have completely outlawed their cultivation, citing environmental risks.
A rise in demand due to lower availability in weather-hit countries sent the premium on non-GM soybean rocketing to €280 a tonne in August from about €130/tonne in March and €90/tonne in November, French animal feed makers group SNIA said.
The higher premium has an immediate impact on animal feed's costs and, in a knock-on effect, on prices of byproducts.
"On average the impact for consumers will be a price rise of about 5% to 10% depending on the sector," said SNIA Deputy-Chairman Philippe Manry, who is also director general for French animal feed maker Sanders, part of oilseed group Avril.
Protein-rich soybean is used in most animal feed products. France has launched a country-wide plan to boost local production of protein crops to cut its dependence on imports.
Non-GM animal feed amounts to about 40% to 45% of the total produced in France.
Imports represent about 20% of feedstock used in animal feed made in France, with soybeans coming mostly from Latin America but also from as far as India in the case of the non-GM industry.