Global non-GM soybean demand to rise, driven by EU: Rabobank

11 Apr 2018 | Rei Geyssens

Demand for ‘specialised’ beans, such as organic, certified or plain non-GM beans, are expected to rise as consumers want to verify the sustainability of food production and to be able to track its origin, Rabobank said in a Grain & Oilseeds update published Tuesday.

The biggest increase in demand is coming out of the EU which will, in the long-term, rely heavily on imports of non-GM beans, especially if less rapeseed meal could be sourced due to increased demand for biofuels, the Dutch bank said.

Aligning consumer demand with supply will remain difficult, the Rabobank said, as consumers aren’t always willing to pay extra for it.

“We see significant and volatile price premiums for organic and non-GM, but for other schemes, it is more challenging to recover the extra costs down the supply chain,” the bank said.

About 350 million mt of soybeans are traded annually, but just 14% are not genetically modified (GM), as major producing countries in the America’s use up to 95% of genetically modified seed.

The Dutch back estimated that only 11%, or 38 million mt, is kept separate from GM beans.

The majority of that is consumed domestically, largely in China and the EU, leaving only 9 million mt traded globally in 2017, marginally up on the year, but 50% up in the last three years.

Half of the volume is plain non-GM soybeans, with a third certified RTRS (Round Table Responsible Soy), and the rest certified as organic.