FoodFacts.com definitely considers this story food for thought. It appears that consumers who are staunchly against GMOs and avidly for GMO labeling on food products have paid more than a bit of attention to the Facebook Cheerios page. They are expressing their extreme disapproval for the non-labeling of GMO ingredients in the popular General Mills’ product.
The General Mills’ Cheerios Facebook page was intended to be a social media outlet for consumers to share their childhood memories of Cheerios. Let’s remember that regardless of ingredients, Cheerios were and still are the first “finger food” that most pediatricians recommend for babies/toddlers. They’re actually included in evaluations for the Pincer Grasp (the incredibly important physical achievement for young toddlers that involves being able to pick up a small object between the thumb and index finger). Do a search in Google images for Pincer Grasp. Most of the images that turn up in the search will, in fact, involve Cheerios. Combine all that with the heart-healthy marketing campaigns and the little cartoon bees for the “Honey Nut” variety and it really isn’t so unusual that Cheerios is an incredibly popular brand here in the U.S.
But the power of social media can show its force on even the most popular of brands. It appears that late in November anti-GMO posters hijacked the Cheerios Facebook page. It seems that GMOInside – a coalition of organizations was somehow behind the efforts to inundate the Cheerios Facebook page with comments from Anti-GMO consumers.
General Mills contributed $1.1 million to the efforts to defeat Proposition 37 in California – the proposed bill to require the labeling of GMO ingredients in California’s food supply. While General Mills’ contribution was less than those of many other companies.
The floodgates opened when General Mills promoted a smartphone app that asked users to tell them what the Cheerios brand meant to them. They printed the comments in the classic Cheerios typeface and put them up on the Facebook page. But GMOInside asked its followers to send messages to General Mills via that same app.
So if you visit the Cheerios Facebook page right now, you’ll see posts from consumers telling General Mills they aren’t buying Cheerios anymore because General Mills isn’t labeling the product appropriately.
The power of social media is a huge and all-encompassing force. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that General Mills will take note of the plethora of messages on the Cheerios Facebook page. Consumers are simply asking for transparency and honesty. The request is not for them to remove ingredients from Cheerios, but to let consumers decide for themselves whether or not to include GMO ingredients in their diets. The only way a Cheerios consumer can do that is for General Mills to label Cheerios accordingly. We like the idea. We hope they do too.