When the GMO Inside group asked its Facebook followers to go to the Cheerios Facebook page and comment about the company's use of genetically-modified ingredients in the kid-friendly cereal, the Cheerios Facebook page got flooded with negative remarks.
In fact, General Mills, the makers of Cheerios, removed an app on the Facebook page that allowed users to create messages about what Cheerios meant to them because people were creating messages that said things like “Poison” and “Deception.” That can’t be what General Mills was hoping to find. All of the comments made with the app have been removed from the Facebook page, but regular comments, like the one below, are still there.
I used to feed Cheerios to my first child all the time. Now that I am better educated on GMOs, I am DISGUSTED at the fact that I was naive enough to believe that at the time I was actually feeding her something healthy. I know much better now, and will never again let another Cheerios pass my children's lips until they are GMO-free.
It’s becoming more common for consumers to launch dissatisfaction campaigns on companies’ social media sites. Last summer, Twitter users bashed McDonalds when the fast-food company started the #McDStories campaign. McDonalds had hoped people would talk up their food, but instead they got thousands of tweets that said things like “One time I walked into McDonalds and could smell type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up. #McDStories.”
Do attacks on social media pages of companies do any good? There’s no evidence that McDonald's changed anything but perhaps their marketing plans because of the comments they received on Twitter.
Kashi, however, did listen to consumers when something similar happened. Earlier this year, consumers took to Kashi’s Facebook page to let them know that they felt misled by Kashi’s “all natural” claims even though some of their products are made with GMOs. Within a month of the consumer social media campaign, Kashi told consumers about their “long-term initiative to produce significantly more organic and Non-GMO Project Verified foods.”
So will General Mills take the McDonald's route and simply change their marketing practices but not their production practices, or will they listen to consumers and change their product? I don’t have a crystal ball, but considering the fact that General Mills reportedly donated more than $1.1 million to defeat Proposition 37 in California that would have required GMO labeling on foods, I’d say the odds are in favor of them taking the McDonald's route.
Wouldn’t you? But, wouldn’t it be wonderful if General Mills proved us wrong?