I had a meeting this week with a foods manufacture in Los Angeles who makes frozen entrees for some well known national retailers. The buyer is a veteran to the food industry and made it clear he was not sold on the whole nonGMO movement. I listened to his objections and towards the end of our meeting I asked him a question.
What do your customers think about nonGMO?
His answer was, many of his customers are long time friends and feel the same way. He said his current customers don’t ask him about it, but recently one of his biggest prospects contacted him to see if he had a nonGMO option in his best selling product line.
I assume this is why we got the meeting. So I asked, do any of your competitors offer a product like this in a nonGMO alternative? Yes they do. No offense Mr. Buyer but what happens when your long time friends at XYZ stores get asked by their bosses for nonGMO alternatives? Do they pick up the phone and call you or do they call your competitor that has let them know they have options?
At the end of the day it is not about what you and I think about GMO’s, it is a consumer driven campaign. Over just the last 5 years the natural foods industry has outpaced conventional food sales by double digits in percentage of growth. With an estimated 54 billion in sales in 2014 this segment appears to be telling us even if it is slightly more expensive consumers also want the choice.