When it comes to giving your customers what they want and need, there’s two ways to do it, Green Monsters.
The context: U.S. public interest in the safety and health of GMO foods is at a high. We need only to consider the numbers found in surveys on consumer desire for GMO labeling – public approval of GMO labeling laws hovers in the 90s and upward range, no matter who is polling.
Now, let’s compare how two major corporations have handled the removal of GMO foods from their products.
Exhibit A: General Mills, the people who bring us those iconic Cheerios, among other packaged food staples. Back in January of this year, General Mills announced that it would remove GMO ingredients from its Cheerios brand cereal. But, for many, this came as a half-hearted attempt to appease consumer demand – not as a true move to make for a better food supply. As The Motley Fool reports, “General Mills seemed to cynically remove GMOs from its Cheerios cereal. It said it had no plans to remove them from its other brands and its CEO declared the results were pretty much what he expected as sales didn’t move the needle. Heck, according to him, even his customers don’t care about GMOs!” In other words, the General Mills GMO ban from Cheerios may have been more about simply meeting a consumer demand. Heck, Cheerios are a tried and true staple for so many toddlers across this country – what company in their right mind wouldn’t back down to a enormous group of concerned parents demanding GMO-free nibbling for their tots?
Now, consider Exhibit B: Chipotle, everyone’s favorite burrito hotspot. Chipotle is the true incarnation of moving to meet consumer demand in a full and sweeping manner. By the end of this year, Chipotle is on track to become completely GMO-free, staying true to its “Food With Integrity” philosophies. The company frequently speaks out on its stance that the world can indeed be fed without the need for damaging GMOs. Now, according to The Motley Fool, Chipotle’s earnings are once again up: “Chipotle recorded a 24% increase in revenues as same-store sales surged 13.4%, generating a 12% increase in earnings per share.” Consumers are approving of Chipotle’s move and message whole-heartedly, and it’s showing in shares and profits.
When we compare these two moves by major corporations to move to meet consumer demand for less GMO ingredients, we can see that one approach trumps the other. When you are transparent, communicative, and whole-hearted about a change, it extends from a shift to a true movement that consumers can get behind. As opposed to Cheerios’ assurances that “don’t worry, the taste won’t change!” message — as if sourcing non-GMO ingredients while somehow make food taste worse, Chipotle embodies the message that non-GMO is not only better for us, but it’s better for the planet, for our entire food supply, and that it can even taste more delectable! We hope that other companies get the message here: consumers want non-GMO foods, and they want it served with a side of heart and true compassion for the underlying desires for better health we all are motivated by.
Image source: proshob / Wikimedia Commons