Social media has provided outlets where people can share their thoughts with the world. Recently, social media users have found that popular sites can be used to evoke change – and they’re aiming this power at the food industry. As you take your culinary courses online, pay attention to the way the Internet has given voice to unsatisfied customers.
The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving certain products for consumption. However, not all consumers agree with their seal. According to The New York Times, advocacy groups have been pushing for change for years and the advent of social media has given them a platform to voice their opinion.
Causing change online
One mom created a petition online with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to persuade Mars, Inc. to remove artificial dyes from M&M’s. Mars has recently hinted that they might cave in, perhaps using seaweed as an alternative coloring agent. The concerned mother originally testified before the FDA, but nothing came of it.
GMO Inside – a group dedicated to eradicating the widespread use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in consumer products – was recently victorious in persuading General Mills to remove GMOs from the breakfast cereal Cheerios. The “No GMOs, Cheerios!” campaign asked Americans to post comments on Cheerios’ Facebook page that asked for a change. In the first week of January, the company complied, stating it would only source non-GMO ingredients for the cereal. According to USA Today, many Twitter users were pleased.
“I think the change is great! Hopefully more companies follow suit,” @carla_moody said.
Consumer demand holds power
Companies rely on consumers to create revenue. Without people buying, there is no way to support a product. For this reason, consumers have the power to influence the market to meet their demands. The concept is simple: If consumers want something, they must ask for it and avoid purchasing the product until the changes have been made. When consumers like something and want the company to continue making it, they must purchase more. A growing number of people are realizing that they have the authority to influence the market, and they are expressing this through social media.
There are plenty of groups online that bring like-minded people together to change the food industry. Whether you want to eliminate GMO use or insist on the implementation of natural food dyes, you too can find a cause you believe in and join the social media movement to affect change.
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