Why is this baby smiling? Maybe because he knows that Cheerios just said no to Monsanto. Responding to growing customer concern over GMO ingredients, parent company, General Mills, has announced that the best selling brand will no longer contain any genetically modified products. In the wake of failed legislation to label all GMO products, many consumers have resorted to boycotting the companies and brands that contributed to anti-labeling lobbies, including the top 3 cereal makers: General Mills, Post and Kellogg. This move, which has suprised investors and the food industry, is certain to garner General Mills favorable publicity and push the labeling issue back into the public eye.
Or is the baby is smiling because the joke is on us? Cheerios are made out of oats, for the most part, and the percent of GMO ingredients they contain is negligible. According to Motley Fool investment reporters on www.fool.com ,
“General Mills is making a statement, but only one that it can currently back without suffering any major financial impact. Yes, Cheerios is General Mills’ best-selling cereal brand, but the amount of GMOs found in the current formulation of Cheerios is arguably insignificant. By ‘giving in’ to consumer demand, General Mills has found a cheap and effective way to receive public attention and free advertising without substantially changing its product offerings.
General Mills is making the GMO-free change only to original Cheerios. The main ingredient in original Cheerios, as mentioned above, is oats, which are already GMO-free, requiring only a change in the sourcing of cornstarch and sugar. Major ingredients in other Cheerios-brand cereals such as Multigrain Cheerios have primary ingredients sourced from corn, wheat, and other more GMO-intensive crops. By making great claims for Cheerios, General Mills may have effectively gained public trust in regards to GMO-free product offerings while diverting attention away from the fact that the majority of its cereals do indeed contain GMOs.”
Still, one could argue that just because this move is swell for the company doesn’t mean it isn’t good for the consumer, too. The fact that a company as large as General Mills has felt pressured enough to eliminate GMOs in any major brand, even as a publicity stunt, is a huge win for the consumer. And that’s reason enough for all of us to smile.