Campbell Co. to Leave GMA
The Campbell Co. has decided to withdraw from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by the end of the year. Campbell CEO Denise Morrison revealed the coming move at an investor event held by the Camden, N.J.-based company last week. According to Morrison, the decision wasn’t financially based, but “driven by purpose and principles,” among them a focus on transparency as a way to engage with customers, especially Millennials.
In 2016, Campbell became one of the first major CPG companies to support mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients, breaking with many of its fellow food manufacturers, and began voluntarily disclosing such ingredients on its own labels.
“We are always sorry when a member company decides to leave our trade association, which happens from time to time for a range of reasons,” Roger Lowe, EVP for strategic communications at Washington, D.C.-based GMA, told Progressive Grocer in response to a request for comment. “We will miss Campbell’s participation and wish them well.”
In line with Campbell’s stance, Lowe was quick to point out his own organization’s work to further transparency in the food industry. “It was GMA’s leadership that helped achieve passage in 2016 of a national standard for GMO disclosure,” he pointed out. “We supported a national standard that enabled our members to maintain their efficient supply chain costs. We supported an option that can provide consumers more information about GMOs than could ever fit on a label. Today, our innovative consumer transparency tool, SmartLabel, is being widely adopted, with nearly 10,000 products already using SmartLabel and 30,000 products expected by the end of 2017. In addition, it was GMA's leadership working with the Food Marketing Institute that created common wording for product code dating to reduce consumer confusion and food waste.”
Despite Campbell’s impending departure, Lowe noted that GMA’s membership was growing. “In 2017, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has gained new members of all sizes from throughout the industry,” he said. “They tell us they are joining GMA because they want to be part of our work committed to consumer transparency, sustainability, food safety, nutrition and retailer collaboration.”