All of the data that has been collected is helping inform the Non-GMO Communications Toolkit,
which will help non-GMO nonprofits,
food companies, retailers and others
give their constituents the information they are looking for in a manageable format.
The value of this information to
the natural and organic products industry was confirmed at Expo West
2012, when an education session on
“Managing the Non-GMO Message”
drew a standing room-only crowd of
over 200 people. Maria Emmer-Aanes
of Nature’s Path Foods and Andy
Huth of Jimbo’s…Naturally! (a San
Diego natural foods grocer) joined
me on the panel, providing the audience with a vendor and supplier view
on managing the non-GMO message.
Nature’s Path has taken a lead on
the GMO issue by supporting numerous non-GMO events and organizations, including the Right2Know
March ( www.right2knowmarch.org)
last October, Non-GMO Month, a
new GMO film project and more.
The company is also a major sponsor
of the successful California Ballot
Initiative (see page 26 for details).
One of Nature’s Path’s major communications priorities is to connect
with moms, a demographic particularly concerned about GMOs and
eager for information. According to a
survey commissioned last fall of 566
moms across Canada, many moms are
rethinking the food they feed their
families; 90 percent want GMOs
clearly labeled. At the same time, 45
percent of mothers had never heard
of genetically engineered ingredients,
confirming the number one guideline in the Communications Toolkit:
Always start with the basics.
Numerous other polls confirm that
the majority of North Americans
don’t really know what GMOs are, or
what genetic engineering is. However,
research also shows that sharing too
much detailed information overwhelms people and can make them resistant to hearing the essential message. Including a simple, concise
definition of GMOs (see below) in any non-GMO press releases or web
pages is an important aspect of managing the non-GMO message. Nature’s Path has approached this creatively by developing a GMO infographic that provides a visual overview of the GMO basics. The Just
Label It campaign has also recently developed a new infographic
(shown on page 22) that they encourage any partnering organizations
to share via websites and marketing materials.
On the retailer side, Jim Someck, founder of Jimbo’s…Naturally!,
helped conceive of Non-GMO Month in 2010 and laid a strong foun-
GMO vs. GE
“GMO” is by far the most commonly used acronym, appearing nearly ten times as much
as “GE” in an analysis of social media usage. In part because there is already such a strong
brand association between “GE” and “General Electric,” it is advisable to avoid this
acronym and stick to GMO.
Sneak Preview from the Non-GMO Toolkit: Terminology
Table 1: Term Frequency. Based on content from the top ten papers by weekday circulation between July 2007 and July 2011. In total, this search returned over 330 stories, including editorial content, letters to the editor and op-eds.
What Is a GMO?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals created through techniques of biotechnology, also called genetic engineering (GE). This experimental technology forces DNA from one species into another unrelated species, creating unstable
combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in
Table 2: Terminology: Online Media. Based on 75,937 results in 30 days from August to