Written by Wes Annac, The Culture of Awareness
If you’re a big consumer of organic and non-GMO products, you probably know that Annie’s, one of the most notorious organic food producers, was recently purchased by General Mills for a very large sum of money. This naturally disappointed and infuriated a lot of Annie’s customers, because General Mills is well known for using GMOs and actually pushing against the fight to label them.
A lot of people who put their trust in Annie’s are probably wondering why they’d do such a thing; why they’d intentionally sell out to a company like General Mills, which obviously doesn’t have the people’s best interest in mind.
Some people are probably wondering what fueled Annie’s to do this, but before we jump on an anti-Annie’s bandwagon, I think we should take a step back and look at the whole situation.
When I first heard about this, I followed the link I found about the subject and read a statement from Annie’s, who, in an act of honesty, announced the buyout shortly after it happened. In their announcement, they stressed that the buyout was for the sole purpose of expanding their products, which have been organic and non-GMO since they started, and not simply to make money.
It’s too early to determine if Annie’s will stick to their promise to keep GMOs out of their food despite that General Mills will likely push for them to start using GMOs like the rest of the companies they own. We can only hope they intend to stay true to themselves and the reasons they started making organic food.
In a world where companies sell organic and non-GMO foods just to gain the good grace of customers while shamelessly putting GMOs in their other foods, it’s very unfortunate to see that General Mills is trying to make themselves look better or more ‘green’ for the sole purpose of gaining customers. But it isn’t surprising.
I’m sure the people at Annie’s realize that General Mills doesn’t have the best intentions in purchasing their company, and while I have no idea what it’s like to run a company, the feeling I get is that Annie’s should go very far out of their way to let their customers know that this change won’t mean an end to their foods’ wholesomeness.
Again, they’ve already released a statement letting us know this, but they’ll still inevitably lose some business over this decision. They might also gain a lot of business, because General Mills will obviously be able to offer their products to a wider range of stores.
I think Annie’s should put the Non-GMO project’s official ‘verified’ seal on all of their products instead of just a few of them. If at all possible, I think they should also push for other companies that General Mills owns to do the same, displaying that they intend for the buyout to facilitate positive changes in the General Mills family.
General Mills has no interest in sourcing and uprooting all of the GMOs from their products, but Annie’s can at least attempt to stay true to themselves and let their customers know that their organic products will remain organic and free of genetically modified ingredients.
As far as I understand, organic foods are automatically void of GMOs anyway, so it probably wouldn’t take much for Annie’s to get the ‘Non-GMO verified’ seal on the rest of their products. I can say that as devoted Annie’s customers, my wife and I are both very disappointed at this decision and we can only hope for some kind of glimmering light at the end of the tunnel.
Honest, genuine corporations can’t keep selling out to dishonest corporations that seek to fool and mislead the people, and I sincerely hope to see that Annie’s goes uncorrupted as they deal with the corporate sludge General Mills is likely to throw their way.
I’m sure they recognize the risks involved with selling out to this company, and I hope they’ve prepared themselves to reinforce their organic and non-GMO stance in the face of attempts to corrupt them.
Most people assume Annie’s was corrupted from the moment they made the choice to sell out, but despite my own disappointment, I’m willing to open up to the idea that something positive could come from this otherwise unfortunate decision.
I hope to see that Annie’s products are soon sold everywhere thanks to General Mills’ wide reach, and I especially hope to see that they remain organic and void of genetically modified ingredients. I can say for sure that the first time I see an Annie’s product that isn’t organic, my faith in this otherwise trustable company will wane significantly.
I don’t think we should outright refuse Annie’s because of their decision, however, and instead, I think we should stay open to the idea that this buyout might not be all bad. I might be one of few people who still decides to support Annie’s despite this decision, and maybe it’s because I’m too ‘soft’ on GMOs (believe me – I don’t intend to be).
Maybe it’s because I recognize that the potential exists for this purchase not to corrupt Annie’s (call me naïve), or maybe it’s because I don’t yet want to stop consuming my favorite Annie’s products or supporting a company I once assumed I could always trust.
I’m confident that there’s still some good left in Annie’s, and like many others, I hope to see that my faith in them isn’t betrayed. General Mills will eventually and inevitably jump on the non-GMO bandwagon, because GMOs are becoming an increasing stigma in western society as more people learn about their massively destructive health effects.
When General Mills finally makes the changeover, we can’t forget that they were one of the companies who fought GMO labeling in the past (they’re fighting it now as I write this).
I honestly don’t think we should support General Mills or any other company who deceives organic and non-GMO consumers, but unfortunately, we’ll support them every time we purchase an Annie’s product from here on out.
And that’s what hurts the most – the fact that we’ll support one of the top GMO companies whenever we purchase something that’s against GMOs and unhealthy, chemical-ridden food in general. I’m sure Annie’s knows the downside of their decision, and I sincerely hope they didn’t make it just because of the money involved.
I hope to see that they genuinely want to expand their products and get non-GMO foods out to a wider range of stores as they claimed in their statement, and the best way for them to prove this is to strengthen their fight against GMOs.
They might be seen as hypocrites for selling out to General Mills before vowing to fight GMOs harder, but from my perspective (and the perspective of plenty of others, I’m sure), it’s the best way they can prove to their customers that they’re legitimate.
It’s the best way they can show us that they aren’t just in it for the money like so many other companies, and until they do something to display this, a lot of people will more than likely stop purchasing their products because we don’t want to support General Mills or any company pushing unlabeled GMOs.
We’re ready to support food companies who genuinely want to feed and nurture people – not companies who want to produce as much cheap food as they can, with as many nasty chemicals as they can fit into them, and make billions at the expense of consumers.
We’re ready for a new way of life, and various companies are fortunately emerging that genuinely seek to offer this new way. I used to faithfully assume Annie’s was one of them, but until they make it very clear that this decision won’t compromise their integrity, I’ll have to be slightly on the fence.
We need to be strong and vigilant in this time of corporate greed and deceit, and if we’re lucky enough, Annie’s will positively influence General Mills and everyone will win.
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