GMOs boasting health benefits have potential

While the public is still conflicted in its opinions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), researchers at Ghent University said genetically modified crops with increased vitamin or mineral content have the potential to make a big impact on improving health.

However, the availability of these crops is low because of negative public opinions surrounding GMOs.

Research from the university, recently published in Nature Biotechnology, has demonstrated that these crops also have a promising market potential.

Notable examples of GMOs boasting added health benefits include rice enriched with pro-vitamin A and folate-enriched rice, developed at Ghent University. The health benefits of crops like these could prove to be valuable alternatives to tackling malnutrition, though none of these GMOs are approved for cultivation, unlike GMOs with agronomic traits, researchers said.

As for the market potential of the crops, researchers said their studies indicate consumers are willing to pay more for GMOs with health benefits, with premiums ranging from 20 percent to 70 percent. In regions such as China and Brazil (target markets for these crops), researchers say the potential market share is high.

The full report, “Status and market potential of transgenic biofortified crops,” can be found here.