Originally published August 5 2015
Big Food companies spend billions of dollars annually on marketing; why can't they afford to label GMOs?
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) One of the most common excuses major food corporations offer when pressed on the issue of why they refuse to support mandatory labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is that doing so would be too expensive, raising food costs for consumers.
But an investigation into this claim reveals it to be an absolute farce, as Big Food companies routinely spend $1 billion a year or more just on food advertising alone.
A simple label change, in other words, represents just a drop in the financial bucket for these multinational businesses. It would literally cost food manufacturers next to nothing to label GMOs, which they already have to do in 64 countries throughout the world, and yet they remain critically obstinate in supporting improved transparency and honesty in food labeling.
The following image shows the ingredients list of a salad dressing product sold in the Netherlands, where GMO labeling is required by law. As you'll notice, the "vegetable oils" portion of the list indicates GMO content in parenthesis:
Clearly it's not that big of a deal for this food company to print such information -- if this list was typed up in Microsoft Word, say, the person who typed it probably spent an additional two seconds, at most, adding the part about genetically-modified soybean oil. And yet food manufacturers would have us all believe that these few extra words are just impossible to print on American foods, sending their costs into the stratosphere for a couple more blips of black ink.
Read all the top stories on GMO at GMOfood.news
Top anti-GMO labeling corporations that spend more than $1 billion annually on advertising Anyone who believes such tripe needs to consider how these same food corporations, which insist that GMO labeling will somehow break the bank, spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to push their GMO-laden food products on the public. The following list reveals food corporations that oppose GMO labeling, and how much they individually spend on food advertising every year (as per data gathered by Business Insider):
General Mills: $1.002 billion
Unilever (Ben & Jerry's, Lipton): $1.3 billion
McDonald's Corp.: $1.37 billion
Anheuser-Busch InBev: $1.42 billion
Johnson & Johnson: $1.94 billion
Pfizer: $2.072 billion
Procter & Gamble Co: $4.9 billion
The fast food industry alone, according to a 2010 report by Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, spent $4.2 billion in all marketing (TV, radio, magazines, outdoor advertising) in 2009. Many of these same companies also donated millions of dollars to campaigns seeking to bar GMO labeling legislation from passing in places like Colorado and California.
Find more articles on Monsanto's latest schoolyard bullying at Monsanto.news
No money to print a few extra words on food packaging, but plenty of cash to market hidden GMOs to consumers Some of the top food corporations who've been complaining about the alleged added costs associated with mandatory GMO labeling didn't seem to have any problems coming up with huge cash infusions to kill GMO labeling legislation. Here's who the Just Label It! campaign lists as the top donors to the "No on 37" campaign that defeated mandatory GMO labeling via Proposition 37 in California:
Kellogg's: $0.8 million
ConAgra: $1.1 million
General Mills: $1.2 million
Coca-Cola: $1.69 million
Kraft: $2 million
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA): $2 million
PepsiCo: $2.4 million
All this cash could have easily covered the supposed "added costs" of GMO labeling, and yet these corporations chose to spend this money to fight labeling transparency instead. Even more obscene is how much each of these corporations spends annually on food advertising. Here's a few examples:
The Kellogg's Company, according to 2013 financial data, spends more than $162 million annually on advertising.
ConAgra, according to AdBrands, spends nearly half a billion dollars annually on advertising.
Cereal Giant General Mills likewise spends nearly a quarter of a billion dollars annually on advertising.
The Coca-Cola Company is one of the biggest advertising spenders in the processed food industry, forking over some $3.37 billion, or 7% of its revenues, in 2013, according to Market Realist.
Then there's the Kraft Corporation, which ranked 62 on Ad Age's 100 Leading National Advertisers list in 2013. The company spent $683 million that year on media spending to push its chemical-laden products on consumers.
How about the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which aggressively opposes GMO labeling on virtually every front? This industry group represents many of the top food corporations on this list, which collectively spend billions of dollars annually on advertising, but somehow have no money for labeling GMOs.
According to PepsiCo's 2013 annual report, this anti-GMO labeling corporation spent 5.9% of its net revenue on advertising in 2013. Based on a stated net revenue of $66.415 billion, this means PepsiCo spent $3.92 billion on advertising in 2013.
"[W]hen the current labeling regime (based on DNA/protein) was introduced in 1997, it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests," stated David Byrne, the former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, about Europe's GMO labeling system.
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