Commentary: Did Whole Foods Market go too far on GMO-labeling?
Thompson, however, wrote that average household spending “doesn’t mean much in a country where the top 20 percent earns 15 times the bottom 20 percent. So how do poor families food budgets compare to the rich – and how has that changed over the last 30 years?”
Relative food costs are low and falling fast for everybody – but they’re not falling for the poor.
“In 1984, the poorest Americans spent 16 percent of their incomes to eat,” Thompson reports. “The median-income family also spent 16 percent of its (slightly higher) income on food. And the rich spent the least. In the last three decades, food’s share of the family budget has fallen for all but the poorest families, where it’s stayed the same.”
Whole Foods initiative to embrace GMO-labeling will be met with warm embrace by the company’s core customers, but will likely do little to help it shed the “Whole Paycheck” moniker. Indeed, if 19 other leading grocery chains follow Whole Foods GMO-labeling initiative, food prices will rise for everyone.
At its core, Whole Foods' GMO-labeling initiative is a marketing strategy. By labeling products as “non-GMO” the company implies that they are better or safer, with little evidence to support such ideas. There’s no mention of the fact that GMO foods are sold in America with the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
Yes, Whole Foods' GMO-labeling initiative is a savvy PR move toward the wealthy Americans who can afford to shop there. But it’s of little value to the rest of America.