All over the web, I saw the headlines: “Whole Foods mandates that all companies list GMO ingredients on food labels.”
And the world rejoiced.
A few days later, a photo meme ignites across Facebook: “Peru bans Monsanto!” More rejoicing.
The truth is, neither of these things are likely to be as positive as one might think. When the media reports it, when the serf class cheers it, assume it’s one of two groups: Bread, or Circuses.
Public Opinions and Analytics
Pause for a moment, and consider one thought: do businesses make decisions solely based on public pressure, or do they make decisions based on human behavior?
I run small businesses myself. By small, I mean we’re not doing millions a year in gross sales in any one business. Even my tiny online websites that sell $50 a day still have great analytics. I know where traffic is coming from, I know (based on your IP address) what the age, sex, household income and other likely data are about each visitor. I know that men click links but don’t buy, whereas women use search engines and do buy. ”Likely”. The analytics made me see that changing to a free shipping model increased sales.
I’m a tiny business owner, but my analytics rule my business world. What do you think the largest organic food grocer has in its pocket?
Assume Market Analyses
When a business of any size makes a change, assume that more than one analysis of the change was performed leading up to it. How hard would it be for a large organic grocer to take its own in-house label and do a trial run of the same product labeled with and without a GMO notice? They already have years of data: who buys the soybean, what price does it sell the best at, when should it go on sale, etc. Changing a label in a few markets is likely not to be noticed except by a few bloggers who are already cluttering up the Internet with news that rubbing salt on your toes cures baldness or something.
So big organic grocer does some test market changes, maybe labeling a few popular products with the GMO stamp, and then they sit back and look.
And the likely result? No one really cares. If the 5% who do care stop buying, you adjust your pricing, supply, sales and other marketing aspects to respond to the demand drop.
And the shareholders rejoice.
Peru and Starvation
Kicking Monsanto out of Peru has only one real beneficiary group: the government and their cronies who manage the Starvation Market. When people are hungry, they’ll rely on government and its “charity”. It’s a good way to keep people under control: no food, no energy to revolt.
I’m not a fan of GMO foods, but I adjust my life to account for the higher price of non-GMO foods. For poor people, a calorie consumed is a little bit of muscle that will grow instead of break down.
I’d rather see open pastures of natural grass being fed to truly pastured cows as a cheap way to feed the poor, but we know that government and its cronies would never let such a secret out. So in order to keep food prices low, in some countries GMO may be the only way to go.
Block that, food prices rise, and the Starvation Economy blossoms. Cronies make money. Government retains control.
Why you choose GMO
I know hundreds of anti-GMO advocates. Some get really mad when they hear the latest soundbite about something to do with food and chemicals. Some post daily about anti-GMO activism, up to and including the news that tomato skin enhances eyelash size, or whatever the conspiracy nuts promote this week.
Go through their pantries. I’d bet 90% of them don’t just have some GMO foods in there, but a lot of it. Go through their freezers. Same thing.
It’s one thing to preach the good word of organics, but its another thing to actually follow through on it. I can afford organic food, but when I see the price difference can be 300%, even I pause and gasp. I still buy the better stuff, but then I might have to cut back on a social event or party that week. Most people who promote organics are still out there on Friday night, drinking GMO-wheat beer just because it has a label that sounds local-ish.
The Analytics is the Market
If a change is made in an industry by a single supplier, don’t expect that it is because of public opinion or outcry. Expect that they’ve tested and analyzed sales based on a variety of changes. McDonalds does this with new foods that they introduce in different known markets. Mega Organic grocer is probably doing it constantly. Have you been to 2 stores 5 miles apart and found vastly different prices? Wonder why that is?
The analytics are usually correct. You have millions of transactions occurring every year, including things you may never realize you do, like combining certain multiple items over other multiple items. When the analyzing business wants to make the customer happy, they have to monitor purchases made, not public opinions. No business goes on what a customer’s words are, they go by how often that customer swipes their credit card.
Remember, in all things in life, there is one truth: Watch their actions, rarely their words.
But there’s a corollary to that: If you can adjust things to make people speak positively, without affecting your bottom line, do that. Even if it doesn’t change their actions.
Especially if it doesn’t change their actions.