Most mainstream baby formula is made from various corn and soy derivatives, and more than 90 percent of those crops in America are grown from genetically altered seeds.
Over the last few years, consumers have petitioned Abbott and other big makers of infant formula to remove genetically altered ingredients.
That movement, Mr. Calamari said, had nothing to do with the introduction of non-G.M.O. versions of Similac, though. Rather, he said, the company’s own research had prompted the decision. “Over one-third of consumers say it would have appeal to them and give them peace of mind,” he said.
As consumer interest in improving health through nutrition has grown, Abbott has also begun moving to sell more of its products beyond niche audiences. For instance, the company recently began marketing Pedialyte, an oral electrolyte solution that has long been recommended for sick children by pediatricians, to adults.
“We’ve known that we always had an underground movement of adults who used it for various purposes,” said Lindsy Delco, a spokeswoman for Abbott. “We recently started digging into that and found that since 2012, one-third of our sales” are for adult use.
Abbott already has a G.M.O.-free formula in Similac Organic. (By law, organic products cannot contain genetically altered ingredients.) But the company said its research showed that parents wanted a G.M.O.-free version of the original Similac Advance, which was formulated to be more similar to breast milk than Similac Organic.
In the 52 weeks that ended March 28, sales of all baby formulas totaled just over $4 billion in the United States, according to the market research company Nielsen.
Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic advocacy and research group, said he was pleased that a major baby formula company would offer a G.M.O.-free product.
“Since formula is really the only thing infants eat for some time,” he said, parents are concerned about feeding them “products that are largely made from G.M.O. ingredients.”