Hell, No, We Won’t GMO: More People Choosing Non-Genetically Modified Foods

With California’s Prop 37 making headlines, consumers are turning away from foods made with GMO ingredients.
Increasingly, consumers want foods with no GMOs. (Riou/Getty Images)
Aug 30, 2012
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.

Ever since Prop 37—California's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act—made it onto the November ballot, food industry bigwigs have been hustling to shut it down, throwing more than $25 million dollars into the effort within a month. But not even millions of dollars can keep people from the info they want to know: Sales of products marked as non-genetically modified (GMO) are on the rise.

Food Navigator reports that sales of items bearing a non-genetically modified food label have risen 21 percent in natural food markets in the last three months. The labels, created by the Non-GMO Project, assure consumers that products have been produced according to GMO avoidance best practices, and are part of a concerted effort to increase consumer awareness.

Sales of certified organic foods—which are not permitted to contain genetically modified ingredients—are also increasing, up 17 percent during the same three-month period. 

MORE: 18 Companies That Oppose GMO Food Labeling

Groups like the Right to Know Campaign—which was largely responsible for getting Prop 37 on the ballot—are up against some serious challenges in their efforts to increase consumer awareness, including a host of powerful folks who don't want people to know what's in their food. In the first week of August, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a crew of Big Food executives, met to discuss defeating the initiative. GMA President Pamela Bailey called the initiative "the single-highest priority for GMA this year." Those same groups donated millions already, and are sure to continue their push up until the November election.

But all the buzz Prop 37 has generated already seems to be working. Market research firm SPINS says the power of natural and organic sales post-recession "has never been more evident." Since the start of 2012, natural retailers have witnessed double-digit sales growth every month, as consumers have sought out natural and organic products.

Could this be the tipping point for genetically modified foods? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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