- Consumers consider a company's decision more positively about GMO labeling when they feel the company engaged with them and valued their input, according to a new study from Cornell University researchers.
- Study participants still correlated more legitimacy with the company's decision — even when the manufacturer's decision was to not label its products containing GMO ingredients — when they made it after listening to and involving consumers.
- Manufacturers that are more transparent about the process behind their GMO labeling decisions, whether they choose to label or not, could see a better response from consumers.
A key takeaway from this study is that previously, GMO labeling itself was seen as an act of transparency by manufacturers. These findings show that not only is the decision itself important for transparency, but also the process of making that decision, which study participants' said should involve consumers' input.
When it comes to GMO labeling, the manufacturer that is top of mind for the industry is Campbell, which threw its support behind a national mandatory GMO labeling standard in contrast to much of the rest of the industry. The company also committed to labeling GMO ingredients in its own products in the next 12 to 18 months, the first major manufacturer to do so.
The findings of this study corroborate with another GMO labeling study conducted last year, the result for which found that a GMO label would not necessarily deter a consumer from buying a product.
This study contrasts constant negative attention GMO ingredients receive among consumers and food activists. Many companies have been labeling products non-GMO to appease them, and the results of pending GMO legislation will inevitably lead to further controversy.