A spectacular piece on the front page of the Business section of today’s NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/business/california-referendum-pits-organic-brands-against-corporate-parents.html?_r=1&ref=business
Look, let’s be honest: Years ago, corporations figured out that people will pay more for products that are seen by them to be healthier. It’s pretty straightforward: The biggest fear that we have is death. If we can eat food that is seen to prolong life and prevent death from showing up early, we will pay more to eat it.
But, sadly, there is little medical or scientific evidence to support the idea that eating this or that will keep death at bay.
That does not stop companies from pushing organic food as the panacea.
The NYT article is all about the opposition, of the corporations that own most of the organically labeled food, to labels on the food showing whether or not they are Genetically Modified Foods. Wow, radical: The EU has has this law in place of biotech labeling since 1997.
It’s called Proposition 37, and it’s on the ballot in California. That’s the state with the courts that support the strongest consumer driven legislation.
But here big companies are fighting the law. The article notes that Monsanto ($4.2 million) and Dupont ($4 million) are ponying up cash noted to defeat it.
The NYT article notes the following corporate ties: Coca-Cola owns Honest Tea and Odwalla. General Mills owns Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms.
Smaller organic companies favor the ballot measure. They see it as a way to differentiate themselves from the corporate-organic scene. Even the companies owned by big companies support 37. Take Stonyfield. Owned by Dannon, which famously lost a double-digit million dollar suit when a California court ruled that their claim of probiotics was false, Stonyfield says the labels will help consumers.
But that’s still a distraction from their claim that organic yoghurt is any better for you. As if.