December 21, 2015
A recent article in the Statesman Journal validates what many specialty food producers and store buyers already know, consumers want to know where their food is coming from. Despite some in Congress who want to limit state’s rights when it comes to mandating GMO labeling, 89% of consumers in a poll conducted by The Mellman Group indicated that they were in favor of GMO labeling on food products.
If this divergence between what Congress requires and what consumers want continues, two things will likely happen:
- consumers will vote with their wallets by purchasing products that willingly label their products. This will likely be limited to products that use no GMO products and seek Project NON-GMO or similar verification as it is unlikely that a product using GMO ingredients would want to call that out to consumers. As such, expect to see an increase in certified GMO-free labels on store shelves as food brands seek the certification and expect to see an increase in sales of labeled GMO-free products.
- where the consumers go, stores will follow. Whole Foods Market has already said that they are working towards GMO transparency on all products by 2018. This is not only in-line with the store’s brand and mission, but also makes very good business sense as WFM consumers are some of the most demanding when it comes to GMO labeling. In a highly competitive marketplace, WFM knows that they need to keep those consumers happy and this is one way they can do it. If the pressure remains on GMO labeling from a consumer standpoint, expect to see more and more stores following suit. Congress may be able to limit state’s rights when it comes to GMO labeling, but they can’t make rules on what private businesses can and can’t do.