brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 15, 2013 06:35 PM
Three companies control most of the seed business in the world and one of them is Monsanto, the Missouri-based agricultural company infamous for producing genetically-modified crops and genetically-engineered seeds. The company's resistant seeds were of top concern in a recent patent lawsuit against an Indiana farmer. Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court came down on the independent farmer and declared Monsanto a win.
The farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, purchased Monsanto soybean seeds that are resistant to weed killer and planted them one year. It was his actions after that year that got him into trouble. “Bowman v Monsanto revolved around what Bowman contended was a legal loophole in his license agreement with Monsanto: farmers are allowed to sell the second-generation seeds to grain elevators, which, in turn, are permitted to sell a mixture of undifferentiated seeds as ‘commodity grain,’” Forbes reports. “In other words, he maintained he was legally allowed to buy Monsanto’s seeds cheaper from a grain elevator rather than directly from the company.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 11, 2013 12:57 PM
The United States is currently the world's largest market for genetically modified organisms (GMO)—foods including soy milk, soup and breakfast cereals (made with soybeans), corn and other biotech crops manipulated to make them more resistant to insects and pesticides.
The debate over GMO labeling for organisms genetically engineered by introducing changes into their DNA structure continues to grab the attention of consumers and brands, exacerbated by the November 2012 defeat of Prop 37, a mandatory labeling initiative introduced on the California ballot. Large corporations including PepsiCo and Monsanto spent millions of dollars against Prop 37 and it was defeated.
Now Whole Foods Market is picking up the gauntlet and committing to full GMO transparency. Whole Foods—which made the announcement at the Natural Products Expo West—has committed to labelling all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores that contain genetically modified organisms by 2018.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM
Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.
Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.
“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”
“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2012 12:59 PM
The urban Chinese consumer has greater confidence that green products are better for the environment than their North American counterparts, according to the a new study from DuPont — its China Green Living Survey: Consumer Awareness and Adoption of Biobased Products.
Seventy percent were either very or somewhat confident that green products are better for the environment, while of North American consumers, 65% of Canadians and 60% of Americans held similar beliefs.
The findings have exponential potential for greening-up in the world’s largest consumer market with growing demands for China to meet its sustainability targets. “Greater adoption of biobased products in China could help the country reduce its energy intensity and carbon emissions and advance a new era of green manufacturing,” stated Jeremy Xu, VP, Global Sales and Applications, DuPont Industrial Biosciences.
A majority of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase apparel, personal care, hygiene and household products made from biobased ingredients that offer environmental benefits. More than three quarters of respondents would definitely or likely buy such products in a range of categories including: Detergents 82%, Personal hygiene 81%, Clothing 78%, Personal Care Products 77%.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM
For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.
But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)
What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2012 01:11 PM
The vast majority of American consumers don't care whether their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food executives and think tanks will tell you that and cite, for example, how Indiana local bakery Aunt Nellie's bombed when it introduced a specifically labeled "non-GMO" bread a couple of years ago.
But California isn't most of America, with a more health-conscious outlook than most states. That's why mainstream food companies are in a hot and heavy contest against GMO opponents over Proposition 37, The Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a piece of state legislation that, if passed in November, would require GMO-containing products to disclose that on labels, and make California the first state to mandate genetically modified food.
Similar to what happened to automakers after California took an extreme position on cutting emissions, essentially imposing that higher standard on cars sold all over the country, food and beverage companies are concerned that California will serve as a bellwether in GMO labeling regulation as well.
In a particular bind in this fight are the many mainstream food conglomerates that now own organic brands, which by definition don't include GMOs: Kellogg, owner of GMO poster brand Kashi; General Mills, owner of the Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good brands; Coca-Cola, owner of Odwalla and Honest Tea; PepsiCo; and Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organics.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 14, 2012 02:04 PM
Kellogg has been working on a comprehensive brand overhaul during the last several months, and now one of the first significant fruits of its efforts is coming out: A new campaign promoting some of its classic cereals, focused on their simplicity and goodness.
Running under the tagline "Goodness of a Simple Grain," the new campaign extols Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran in a farm-to-table positioning that is so popular these days (see: McDonald's farmer spots and Chipotle's Willie Nelson video) and combines it with simplicity messaging, emphasizing that there are only four ingredients, for instance, in Corn Flakes. One spot says Kellogg takes these products "from the seed to the spoon."
"We have a number of brands like this that we've been making for a hundred years," Doug VanDeVelde, Kellogg's SVP of morning foods, marketing and innovation, told Adweek. "But consumers weren't really aware of that, and we need to, in a very simple way, remind them."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2012 10:10 AM
A major food fight is brewing in California with potential consequences for all Americans, and it’s not the old-fashioned kind immortalized in movies set in school cafeterias. Proposition 37, one of 11 statewide measures on the docket for California voters in November, would require stores and vendors to label genetically modified organisms (GMO) foods by 2014.
"It's an epic food fight between the pesticide companies and consumers who want to know what's in their food," said Stacy Malkan, media director for the California Right to Know campaign, which has raised $2.4 million to promote their initiative. Continue reading...