When General Mills announced they would be removing all biotech ingredients from their original Cheerios®, it was a pretty big story. The media loves controversy and the anti-GMO critics appeared to have won a major battle. In reality, though, the opposite may be true!
A number of recent articles have shared some interesting news – making Cheerios GMO-free has done nothing to boost sales! This comes on the heels of reports that Cheerios and Grape-Nuts (which also recently switched to non-GMO) are now “certainly less nutritious” than before and have lost vitamins like B12, D, A and Riboflavin and sourcing the replacement ingredients “required significant investment“.
Rest assured, we’re NOT disparaging General Mills here; they clearly state they have no safety concerns when it comes to biotech crops and made the switch purely for marketing reasons. According to their website, they “find broad global consensus among food and safety regulatory bodies that approved GM ingredients are safe.” They even list off some of the more notable organizations who speak to the safety of biotech foods, including the WHO, UN FAO, EFSA, FDA, USDA, EPA and Health Canada.
The point is, the average consumer is not concerned about biotech foods – nor should they be! A recent NPD report found the vast majority of shoppers won’t pay more for non-GMO foods and in a 2012 survey from the International Food Information Council, just 2% of consumers said they had concerns about biotech foods and 0% said they were avoiding them.
So, despite the fact that GMO opponents are effective at creating controversy, the numbers don’t lie. There are few foods more iconic then Cheerios, especially among mothers and children. If a non-GMO switch lowers nutrition, increases costs and doesn’t even boost sales, it should be a very telling case study for others considering a similar switch – it’s not a good idea!