The yogurt brand FAGE has a new television commercial airing in the United States, and it aims to please Millennials with its brand new non-GMO verification.
The commercial (which you can view here) features a young woman enjoying her yogurt on the couch. An unidentified voice tells her that FAGE is now verified by The Non-GMO Project. The woman guesses the company did it to appeal to Millennials, but the voice corrects her by saying: “we did it because it feels right.”
Hey FAGE, I’m a Millennial and I’m not impressed. Nor is sourcing non-GMO ingredients the right thing to do.
— Farmers Daughter (@farmdaughterusa) June 2, 2018
It is true that Millennials are not necessarily looking for the same things as older generations. We value convenience, experience, and meaning, including in our food choices. However, The Non-GMO Project and an anti-GMO mentality are not the way to win us over.
We want food that has a good story behind it. GMOs make a great story – the latest technology being used in a way to support the rich history of family farms across our country, and help solve some of our toughest problems. Family farmers choose to grow GMOs because they increase yields, increase efficiency, and increase profits. They’re also better for the environment and use less resources. They help us be good stewards of the land so we can pass it on to the next generation. Genetically modified foods put green technology to use for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and our world.
We want food we can feel good about purchasing. GMOs are the feel good food of this generation. Arctic Apples don’t brown when they’re cut, which means they can be cut and prepared ahead of time and cut down on food waste. Crops with the Bt trait are protected from some of the most destructive insects, so farmers don’t have to apply insecticide. Round-Up Ready crops allow farmers to utilize more soil-friendly production methods, like no-till and cover crops, which also works to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We’re able to grow more affordable food, so that we can meet food demands and keep pace with a growing population. These are the stories that will speak to Millennials.
The same GMOs that reduce food waste and help us grow more food affordably speak to Millennials who value convenience.
Above all else, we also know that GMOs are safe for human consumption. There is no difference between a GMO and its non-GMO counterpart. Putting the little butterfly on your yogurt makes no actual difference to the product itself. Instead, it signifies that your yogurt is being made while foregoing the benefits that biotechnology gives us.
That isn’t right; that’s really, really bad!
That decision is bad for the environment, bad for science, bad for farmers, bad for the future, and bad for consumers. In all honesty, you should be embarrassed that you’ve made this decision. You should be embarrassed that you’re trying to bamboozle Millennials (or any consumers) into believing you’re making a better yogurt, when you aren’t. You should be ashamed that you’ve bought into a marketing concept that preys on fears and misinformation, instead of relying on potential for the future.
That little butterfly on your yogurt cups now means I will no longer purchase them. I have no interest in turning my back on science and agriculture and sustainability. I will encourage others to do the same, and I hope you will reconsider this path.
[Note: Interestingly, FAGE has disabled comments on their YouTube channel for this commercial. However, I think they need to know how consumers feel about their decision. Consider leaving a comment on their Facebook page or their Twitter account.]