Just great. You’re grocery shopping. On your list is a particular item that you always buy from a particular company. It’s your favorite brand. The others just don’t compare. Except you get to the aisle with that product and you see that your favorite brand is now sporting a non-GMO label on it. Now what?!?
As a savvy shopper, you’re probably pretty hesitant to purchase that product now. But it’s your favorite brand! Is all lost with the world? Do you have to compromise on an inferior brand now?
While it would be great if we could proactively stop all companies from taking such action, that is not always possible. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to just accept a non-GMO label without complaint. Rather, it means we need to step up to the plate and do what we can to counter the negative influence of that little label.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do.
Tell the Company How You Feel
The only reason a company decides to adopt the non-GMO verification is to sell products. They have made a calculated decision that the non-GMO label will make their product superior in the minds of shoppers. Unfortunately, activists have really loud voices and there are always active campaigns to force companies into adopting the label. But as consumers, we can let them know how we feel about it, too. In fact, our silence about these issues is usually the reason these labels keep showing up on new products – companies don’t know that there are people who really hate to see a non-GMO label. To contact the company, try finding them on your favorite social media platform. If that doesn’t work, you can always go to their website; most companies have some way for customers to contact them. Let them know you were disappointed to see the label on their product, that you support the use of biotechnology and the benefits it provides, and inform the company that you will consider purchasing a different brand from now on.
Purchase a Different Brand
I have never, ever advocated for a boycott of a particular product just because the company has decided to adopt a label on its product or employ a bad marketing campaign. (Well, perhaps with the exception of Chipotle, but that is more because I want my family and friends to stay healthy and alive.) However, as a consumer, you should use the power of the purse strings to talk for you. If you can handle going with a different brand, then buy one without the non-GMO label. It may not make the company remove the label, but at least you will feel better knowing you aren’t supporting it. If you can’t handle a switch, that’s okay, too.
Tell the Other Brand Why You Made the Switch
If you’ve made the switch to a different brand because you just cannot put the non-GMO label into your grocery cart, be sure to let the new brand know! Again, companies adopt the non-GMO label as part of a marketing plan. They believe it really makes their product more desirable for consumers. So, let them know it doesn’t make that product more desirable for you. Let them know that you switched to their brand specifically for that reason. Even if you decide you just cannot bear to switch brands, let the competing company know that you appreciate they have not slapped a non-GMO label on their products. The minority that is against genetically modified crops is very loud. We need to be louder.
Get Your Friends Involved, Too
For all of these suggestions, it is definitely a good idea to get your science-savvy friends involved. Have them contact the company and any competitors as well. The more voices speaking up, the louder that voice becomes.
Use the Opportunity to Talk about the Benefits of Biotech
That icky little non-GMO label is creating a negative stigma about genetically modified foods. So, do your part to talk about why the technology is actually really awesome. Whether on social media, at dinner with friends, or at the water cooler at work, find a time to casually mention some positives about GMOs. There are a lot to choose from: less pesticide use, increased yields, increased profits for farmers, targeted pest management, increased adoption of conservation tillage, etc. Maybe you can even mention that biotechnology benefits fields other than agriculture, such as medicine. Again, you may not have as big of an impact as the non-GMO label, but just remember, if we’re all doing our part to change the narrative we can and will have an impact.
Seeing that non-GMO label on your favorite brand or product really sucks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do. While none of these actions will necessarily remove that ugly little label, it is at least an opportunity to be a positive voice in support of biotechnology.