The Anti-GMO Movement’s Clever Marketing Gimmick

By Keith Kloor | March 17, 2013 5:13 pm

Several weeks ago, Whole Foods, the organic supermarket chain many people have a love/hate relationship with, announced that by 2018 any of its products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would be labeled.

A Bloomberg Businessweek article called the move “clever marketing” and said:

Transparency is something worth paying for these days.

I find it amusing that this whole GMO labeling campaign has been framed as some kind of consumer rights cause. It’s the “right to know” sales pitch by the anti-GMO movement that has been clever marketing, which Whole Foods is quite happy to capitalize on: 

We are the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.

Everyone knows the whole point of this is to scare people away from eating those godforsaken “frankenfoods.”  You want to know what transparency really means? This is from an organic grocer in Washington. Some folks on Twitter have been discussing those labels. What does GMO Alert! say to you?

UPDATE: Just catching up with this New York Times editorial that asks: “Why label genetically engineered food?”

UPDATE: The owner of the Washington store that is slapping its own GMO labels on food products writes on Facebook that he looks forward to a future “that doesn’t use the human population as guinea pigs in a massive genetic experiment.”


CATEGORIZED UNDER: genetically modified foods, GMOs

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets.From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine.In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest.He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


See More

Collapse bottom bar