Are Seekers even concerned about GMOs?
Earlier this year in our Green Living Pulse™ study, over half of the Seeker population said they’re trying to avoid genetically modified foods. But of those a more convinced 22% says they are intentionally avoiding GMOs – right up there with aspartame and saccharin – as we found in our soon to be released Eco Pulse™ study. In fact, Seekers are the most likely of our four segments to say ‘non-GMO’ is the best thing to read on a food product label.
So why are they concerned? Seekers (while also concerned about the environment) are more concerned about their health and the health of their families. In fact, Seekers cite health as the top reasons for choosing green home improvement products and personal care items – which could extend to health concerns regarding allergies and GMOs. Individuals who are already susceptible to allergies could have a severe reaction to a new allergen – an allergen that GMO opponents say could be created by the introduction of new genes to plants (for example, the injection of a salmon gene into strawberries to try to prevent freezing). These are valid concerns for the health-conscious Seeker.
Seekers read the ingredients on a package to determine if it’s green, but they also read food content labels and search for foods with the simplest, most natural food labels. When it comes to labeling on a food product, Seekers want to see a “GMO-free” description on the label or that it’s USDA Certified Organic – even more so than Actives. And because information-savvy Seekers do their own Internet research to determine if a product is green, they’re more likely to be reading about the GMO-labeling controversy.
And that raises another question: Should food manufacturers be required to disclose via ingredient labels that the corn used to make their cereal is, in fact, genetically engineered? A recent article in The New York Times outlined some of the controversy surrounding the GMO-labeling issue. The FDA says labeling isn’t necessary simply because the food is not materially changed. Farmers, food and biotech companies and scientists say that labels might lead consumers to reject genetically modified food without understanding its environmental and economic benefits. While all the parties involved have their own arguments, it comes down to this: If you’re a Seeker, you want to read ‘GMO-free’ on the label in order to feel safe buying the product. After all, it’s a matter of personal health.