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Californians Go to the Polls on Prop 37 GMO Labeling Battle

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM

For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.

But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)

What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...

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Organic Brands Caught In Fight Over California's Prop 37 GMO Debate

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2012 01:11 PM

The vast majority of American consumers don't care whether their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food executives and think tanks will tell you that and cite, for example, how Indiana local bakery Aunt Nellie's bombed when it introduced a specifically labeled "non-GMO" bread a couple of years ago.

But California isn't most of America, with a more health-conscious outlook than most states. That's why mainstream food companies are in a hot and heavy contest against GMO opponents over Proposition 37, The Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a piece of state legislation that, if passed in November, would require GMO-containing products to disclose that on labels, and make California the first state to mandate genetically modified food.

Similar to what happened to automakers after California took an extreme position on cutting emissions, essentially imposing that higher standard on cars sold all over the country, food and beverage companies are concerned that California will serve as a bellwether in GMO labeling regulation as well.

In a particular bind in this fight are the many mainstream food conglomerates that now own organic brands, which by definition don't include GMOs: Kellogg, owner of GMO poster brand Kashi; General Mills, owner of the Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good brands; Coca-Cola, owner of Odwalla and Honest Tea; PepsiCo; and Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organics.Continue reading...

brand strategy

How Unilever is Planning to Stay On Its CPG Perch

Posted by Dale Buss on September 12, 2012 02:12 PM

Unilever is doing more and more things right and getting more and more credit for it, from constituencies ranging from investors to global consumers. Now, the task of CEO Paul Polman is to build on the many gains made by the British-Dutch company and its stable of brands.

Over the past three years, Unilever — whose competitive set includes other CPG and health-and-beauty giants including P&G and Colgate-Palmolive — has gained global market share each year, after losing it each year from 2002 to 2008, according to a new report from Sanford C. Bernstein.

While the company performed near the bottom of its global industry clusters for top-line growth from 2001 through 2005, it came in at the middle of the food category last year, ranked No. 2 in beauty and personal care behind Estee Lauder, and came in at No. 1 in the home-care arena.

Polman, a marathon runner, has waged a good race in the nearly four years since he took the helm.Continue reading...

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Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Dannon Debuts With John Stamos for Oikos Greek Yogurt

Posted by Dale Buss on January 19, 2012 07:01 PM

Dannon USA hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl before, but executives of the American arm of France's Groupe Danone know a good Super Bowl ad when they see one.

"It has to be memorable," Michael Newirth, senior director of communications for Dannon USA, told brandchannel. "It tends to have a healthy dose of humor. And usually it's got some element of surprise. And you can expect to see some of all of those in [the ad] we share on February 5."

And actually, Dannon has given a lot away already about what its first-ever ad in the Big Game will entail.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: DirecTV Defends Sunday Ticket

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2010 09:00 AM

DirecTV defends its crucial NFL Sunday Ticket business with a new $100 million marketing campaign.

Amazon unveils third-generation Kindle e-book reader.

Toyota issued its latest recall: 412,000 vehicles in the U.S., 16,000 in Japan.

Get the latest on Disney, Ford, Shell and more after the jump.Continue reading...

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