The powerful food lobby group lost its members in the industry culture clash.
At least in the past decade, the grocery manufacturers association (GMA) has been a broad industry unparalleled voice, from a nearby grocery store to food manufacturing giant, supply chain all over the world. More recently, it has been a powerful force in pushing for information about adding sugar or genetically modified organisms to food labels.
Today, the behemoth is teetering and facing questions about its future. In the past six months, the GMA’s eight biggest members have decided to give up membership. Politico, a news website, soon revealed every defecation. One industry source said he saw three other companies considering leaving the association.
Although in most cases, the reasons are unclear, but due to the company to respond to the contradiction of consumer requirements, some out of the question raised questions about whether the food industry can be used a kind of voice.
The company that left GMA does include some very big names. Campbell soup company leading all the way, the second is unilever (make a lot of packaged foods, such as Herman mayonnaise), candy maker Mars, tyson foods, America’s largest producer of meat), nestle, dean food company, Hershey company and food giant cargill.
Only Campbell soup has given specific reasons for leaving the group. Chief executive Denise Morrison told analysts in July last year, Campbell met on many important issues “with the food industry has many differences in philosophy”, such as whether to label genetically modified organisms or fast by the FDA to expand nutrition label. In both cases Campbell’s soup, along with most other food companies, broke the information in its product label. The company has since joined a smaller group, the plant food association.
Other companies have offered no explanation for their departure, or they have published some imaginative things. For example, cargill announced that it “believes that in an era of unprecedented industrial change, we can achieve our business goals outside of GMA.” A spokesman for Dean Foods told The Salt in an email that The company was leaving GMA “so we could prioritize and allocate our limited time and resources elsewhere.”
Charlie arnott, chief executive of the industry-funded nonprofit center for food safety, said the departure reflects the fragmentation of the food industry. “This is a fundamental change that is beginning to happen to consumers,” he said. “We’re not as fixed as we used to be.”
He says many food companies are developing a new brand, in order to meet the better nutrition, health or environmental benefits of food demand, “emerging brands are growing significantly faster than conventional life”, Arnot said. He says the different priorities of these different companies have caused conflicts within GMA about issues such as gm labeling or nutritional standards.
Many of the companies that left GMA, such as Campbell, unilever, Mars and Hershey, have been emphasizing efforts to promote transparency, improve nutrition or environmental sustainability.
Roger Lowe, executive vice President of strategic communications at GMA, told The Salt that there were not many reasons for The company to leave. “The company gave us a number of reasons,” he said. But he said the decisions accelerated the process of “reshaping” the GMA launched earlier last year.
In a prepared statement, Lowe also noted that “the food industry is facing serious disruption and evolving — and so is GMA, and we will continue to evolve and change, even faster.” When member companies decide to leave, we are always sorry and want to discuss with them the issues of common concern in the future. ”
Later this year, the association will move from its downtown Washington office to roslin, a nearby Virginia suburb.