Demand for sugar derived from sugar cane is on the rise due to customer rejection of sugar derived from sugar beets, which are often genetically engineered. In 2015, Hershey’s decided to start switching their sugar to non-GMO sources, primarily sugar cane. Despite the fact that sugar from cane or beet have identical molecular structures, food manufacturers are betting on rising demands for non-GMO sources. Sugar from sugarcane seems to be a selling point, which is proudly noted on the ingredient list and marketing material for many brands.
Customers often select non-GMO ingredients based on the notion that these are healthier or better for the environment, which are noble reasons to support. However, as outlined in a previous piece written with several other scientists, non-GMO is not synonymous with healthier or more sustainable ingredients. In fact, the opposite may be true: