Date: Aug 8, 2008 10:45 AM
not long ago in a supermarket not so far away…
Supermarket activism was extremely important and effective in forcing genetically engineered (GE or GMO) food off the shelves throughout Europe.. In the U.S. , we are starting to see some of those same results.. Whole Foods and Wild Oats, two national supermarket chains, pledged to use only non-GE ingredients in their store brand products after consumers expressed their concerns about the use of these experimental foods.. Trader Joe's, after more than a year of being the target of a consumer campaign by several grassroots groups, NGOs, and individual activists, pledged to source non-GE for all their store brand products.. Now even giant national chains like Albertson's and Safeway have organic store brands to appeal to consumers who want to avoid GE foods! HEB, a Texas supermarket, even labels its new product line as Non-GMO after they were the focus of a long and ongoing campaign from local customers and grassroots groups
The victory at Trader Joe's proves that supermarkets can make this change.. Perhaps more importantly, this victory shows that, working together, we can make this change
Now we have the opportunity and the obligation to demand safe, healthy, non-GE foods from all of our supermarkets across the country!
for market intervention because:
* Supermarkets control a large amount of food production through their store brand products.. In the U S store brands typically account for 25 – 40 percent of supermarket sales.. Store brands are also the supermarkets' way of gaining customer loyalty
* Supermarkets are the part of the food industry that has the most exposure and immediate accountability to the public.. They also have the least to gain from GE foods
* Supermarkets must answer to their customers and the public, and they must maintain a good public profile and trust.. The supermarket industry is highly competitive and the profit margins are relatively slim, so any threat of losing customers, sales or image is a serious one
to engage people:
* Most people do the majority of their shopping on the weekends when they have a little more time.. This allows you the time to talk with them about GE food
* People are already thinking about food and making decisions about their purchases so what you say has immediate relevance
* You are at the magical 'point of sale'.. Food companies and advertisers pay a lot of money to be where you are - use it wisely
* Supermarkets are public, high-volume, mainstream and accessible - even better than a street!
* Supermarkets watch their bottom line and the movement of their sales very closely.. Again, this is a highly competitive industry with narrow profit margins - every dent will be felt
* Supermarkets protect their brand - they can not afford to lose trust.. If their store brands are thought of as lower in quality, so too will be their store
* Supermarket managers pride themselves on responding to the needs of their immediate community of customers.. Most store managers also receive bonuses based on their store sales.. This is a great opportunity!
* Supermarkets strive to be seen as the consumers' friend and they want to build up a relationship with their customers (hence loyalty cards, special points, store coupons on receipts, etc)
* Supermarkets watch their competitors closely.. If one moves on an issue and does well, they will follow suit!
The True Food Network