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Monday, June 2, 2014

The Power of Consumer Feedback

I was visiting the farmer's market this past Friday, and I was struck by the number of local meat providers who had signs explaining that they don't feed their livestock GMO feed.  The GMO issue has really gained some traction in the past six to nine months, so clearly no one had time to change their farming practices.  But those who already avoid GMOs listened to their market, and they used their packaging and advertising to provide the information their consumers want.  I made sure to load up on meat from our favorite farms, none of which use GMO feed in raising their livestock.

A similar thing has happened with my favorite yogurt. The yogurt market is a very competitive one right now, with Greek yogurts taking over where other traditional styles once held sway.  I don't personally care for Greek yogurt; in fact, the only kind I really like is the Yoplait Whips, which is a mousse-style yogurt.

I want to include some yogurt in my diet as a light lunch or to make sure I'm getting some of the valuable probiotics, but I wasn't willing to eat the Yoplait Whips because they were sweetened with HFCS.  But recently I picked up a container, and there it was: a notation that there is no HFCS in the Yoplait Whips.  I immediately added two or three containers to my cart.  I think the power of consumer concern is at work there.

I'm not claiming that this is a perfect product -- I would prefer it be made with organic milk (to avoid growth hormone) and perhaps contain a little less sugar.  But the elimination of HFCS has allowed this product to move from a "definitely not" to an "occasionally, sure" part of my diet.

It's all about the power of the consumer's voice.  We have to tell our food providers what concerns us about food production, and then we need to reward them for taking the right steps with our food dollars.  I'll keep buying the yummy meat raised with non-GMO feed, and I'll enjoy a Yoplait yogurt on occasion.  Maybe, if they make the move to use milk that comes from cows that haven't been given growth hormone, I'll make it a daily indulgence rather than an occasional treat.

Have any of your favorite food providers "cleaned up their act?"  Tell us who is doing it right in the comments below!

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