On Nov. 6, 2012, California’s Proposition 37 was defeated. More than 4.2 million Californians voted yes on the proposition to label products that contain GMO while more than 4.6 million voted no. The net result is that nearly nine million people learned a thing or two about GMO foods and labeling in the process of making a decision.
It is up to the political scientists and the election experts to explore the reasons people ultimately chose against labels for their food – labels that would help them make better and healthier food decisions.
An Opportunity to Learn from Proposition 37
We believe that smart companies will hear the roar of the public demand for information. These smart companies will use their business acumen and provide people with healthy non-GMO options.
Companies spend fortunes on small scale market research that provides much less information compared to the information from this Initiative. Having a sample of nine million people across one of the largest and most progressive markets in the state is a researcher’s dream come true! California has 10% of the US population and if California were an Independent country, its economy would be eighth in the world.
Food and bioengineering companies spent tens of millions of dollars to fight this proposition. Now, that the results are known, they should sit down and assess how can they best benefit from their investment. Let’s not let a wealth of data like this go in vain.
The FDA Stance on GMO
A search of the FDA website shows that the official stance is not objecting GMO. However, in 2001 the FDA published guidance for the industry on Genetically modified products.
Clear Message to Food Producers on GMO
The clear message is that public opinion in the US is shifting toward wanting more knowledge about the source and quality of the food we eat. There will be food producers who will continue producing the same food they do today and likely experience a decline in demand. While other food producers and manufacturers who adapt and learn will be able to ride the wave and address the needs and aspirations of Americans who care about what they eat.
This is an opportunity to create healthy food choices, address early adopters who are willing to pay a premium for healthy food (while ostensibly saving on medication costs). As the number of people who care about what’s in their food grows around the country and it becomes mainstreet to eat healthy food, the costs will drop and GMO-free products will become increasingly available. Even today, retailers such as Safeway, Costco and Walmart offer organic optins. GMO is what organic was 10 years ago. Smart companies would learn from the past and create products that people want to consume.
Public Opinion on GMO Evolves over Time
As the baby boomers grow older they clearly realize the impact of life style on their health and take action and responsibility, changing what they eat and what they do in their spare time. Parents are more aware of the impact of the food their children are exposed to and help them make healthier choices in the supermarket.
How Can the Food Industry Benefit from GMO
We at wHealthy Solutions believe that information is key to fight the epidemic of chronic diseases and the rising health care costs in this country. We feel that our country has been a leader in labeling food, which in turn has helped the US public make better choices. When it comes to GMO, we observed that the European’s approach has been leading the way for the past 15 years. We believe that the US food industry would be smart if they take the lead and add voluntary GMO labels to inform their customers.
About the Author:
Avi Sachs is a parent who is engaged with feeding his family with healthy food choices on a budget. He always trains for the next marathon and tries to eat healthy food. Avi is the co-founder of wHealthy Solutions, a company that translates an overabundance of information on healthy eating and exercising habits, into practical and actionable plans.
At wHealthy Solutions, we will always be your gatekeeper for accurate information.