Campbell Soup just announced that it is leaving the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association. What could it mean? Is this another gunshot wound to Big Food?
It gets even more interesting, however, when you consider Campbell’s reasons for leaving the group.
The GMA has been described as Big Food’s national lobbying group. It is an organization that represents countless food and beverage and helps market its members “responsibly.”
However, it was vehemently opposed to any GMO labeling efforts to the point where it donated around $2 million dollars to defeat California’s Proposition 37 to label GM foods. The group called the defeat of of Prop 37 “the single highest priority for GMA” that year.
Campbell Soup Co. will leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association by the end of the year over concerns that the trade association no longer represents its views. The move stems from GMA’s hardline stance on GMO labeling. Campbell Chief Executive Denise Morrison told investors earlier this week that the move was not for financial reasons but instead was “driven by purpose and principles.”
Campbell has long been vocal about increasing transparency of its ingredients. The company, which owns the Pepperidge Farm, Prego and V8 brands, split from the rest of the food industry in January 2016 with a commitment to label all of its products containing genetically modified ingredients. It also supported efforts to make such labeling mandatory. GMA at the time was still pushing for a prohibition on GMO disclosures on food products. “We have always believed that consumers have the right to know what’s in their food,” CEO Denise Morrison said in a memo to employees at the time on the company’s decision.
A GMA spokesman took an apparent sour grapes approach to their farewell and “wished” Campbell’s well, but reiterated that members join the GMA because of its transparency. Nothing could be more deluded when you consider their bulldog grip on keeping GMOs hidden from consumers.
Fun Fact: Neil Young may be the only musician who has used the term Grocery Manufacturer’s Association in a song! No surprises – it was in his album The Monsanto Years.
Campbell’s has been running after the health conscious dollar for a few years now, and we couldn’t be more pleased that they are taking stand, regardless of whether it’s to increase profits or stand by principles – they are listening to consumers.
Campbell Soup was among the very first companies to voluntarily disclose their GMO ingredients last year. Perhaps they truly have sent a quake throughout Big Food – let the cascades begin!