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No change in biotech-free products, says Lightlife
ConAgra Buys Non-GMO Soy Foods Maker

(18 July - Cropchoice News) -- In another indication that ConAgra is implementing a plan to be a major player in the non-GMO market, the food giant said today that it has bought out Massachusetts-based Lightlife Foods. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lightlife is a two decade old manufacturer of soy-based vegetarian refrigerated foods. The company specializes in biotech-free meat substitutes including soy hot dogs, salami, sausages, burgers, and "bacon" bits.

According to ConAgra chairman Bruce Rohde, buying Lightlife is "evidence of our committment to serve the growing number of consumers who are looking for natural foods..."

Lightlife avowedly avoids biotech. According to a Lightlife spokeswoman, ConAgra will not change Lightlife's non-GMO stance. The representative told Cropchoice that Lightlife "will stand by its committment to non-GMO" under the new ownership.

Beginning late last year Lightlife implemented a 5 month conversion to non-GMO sources, promising its customers that "virtually all Lightlife product sold in retail stores should be Non-GMO by April 30, 2000." The company maintains a 800 number "hotline" for consumers with GMO concerns and says that it is "100% committed to a product line entirely free of GMO ingredients."

There are other indications that ConAgra would like to play a bigger role in the non-GMO market. Last month, a Cropchoice report revealed the Omaha-based company had taken ownership of a number of internet website names that relate to biotech-free products, such as no-gmo.com. A ConAgra spokeswoman said the names could figure in future company plans.

Source: Lightlife Foods, ConAgra