Gardenburger Inc. (Nasdaq: GBUR) announced yesterday that it has begun making its famous Gardenburger® meat alternative products with traditional soybeans unaltered by genetic engineering, known as “non-GMO” soy. Gardenburger Inc. is the only food company among the major veggie burger producers to make such a commitment to consumers.

“Feedback from our customers and several national studies demonstrate a strong consumer preference for non-GMO ingredients,” said Jim Linford, Interim President and CEO of Gardenburger. “Our company has always been known for making products that consumers feel good about eating. As the leader and the last remaining major independent manufacturer in our category, we’re responding by making the choice of non-GMO soy available to consumers who want it.”

Soybeans have attracted considerable attention because more than half of the current domestic crop is planted with genetically modified seed, increasing the likelihood that soy products on store shelves contain these altered beans. A 1999 poll by Time magazine showed that 58 percent of consumers would not buy genetically modified products if they were labeled as such. The impact is significant with soy burgers, a popular convenience product made almost entirely of soy.

Three manufacturers account for approximately 89 percent of the soy burgers sold in grocery stores in the United States: Gardenburger, Boca Burger from the Kraft division of Philip Morris, and the Morningstar Farms brand from Kellogg.

To ensure that the soy used in Gardenburger products is not genetically modified, the company is requiring its suppliers to certify that the entire supply — from the seed through the manufacturing process — meets strict non-GMO standards. In addition, Gardenburger randomly tests its raw materials as well as its finished product.

Gardenburger makes several varieties of great tasting soy-based products, including Gardenburger Flame Grilled(TM) Hamburger Style and Chik’N Grill, a new chicken-like filet. These Gardenburger products carry a prominent “Made from Non-GMO Soybeans” label. The newly produced and packaged products will begin shipping to grocers immediately and will be widely available on grocery store shelves starting mid-February.

Founded in 1985, Gardenburger Inc. is an independent company that distributes its Gardenburger® products to more than 35,000 foodservice outlets throughout the United States and Canada. Retail customers include more than 30,000 grocery, natural food and club stores. Based in Portland, Ore., the company employs approximately 200 people.

Statements in this press release about future events or performance are forward-looking statements that are necessarily subject to risk and uncertainty. The company’s actual results could be quite different. Important factors that could affect results include the company’s reliance on product acceptance, the company’s ability to execute its retail distribution plan, effectiveness of the company’s sales and marketing efforts, and intense competition in the veggie burger and other meat alternatives industry, which the company believes will increase. Other important factors that could affect results are set forth in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 1999 and the company’s 1999 Annual Report to shareholders. Although forward-looking statements help provide complete information about the company, investors should keep in mind that forward-looking statements are inherently less reliable than historical information.

Available to editors upon request: Art work for new Gardenburger packaging.