For many consumers who comparison shop for their groceries, a food label announcing the lack of some ingredient or process in its product infers a real difference between that product and its competitors. It’s easy to take a label at its word and not read the fine print – and that’s likely what Hunt’s was counting on when it unveiled “Non-GMO” labels on its canned crushed tomatoes.
“No matter how far afield you look, you won’t find a single genetically modified tomato among our vines,” Hunt’s said in a video announcing its Non-GMO Project certification. But everything was not what it seemed on the surface – or on the label, in this case. The decision by Hunt’s clearly had nothing to do with substance and everything to do with marketing.
Why? Because there’s no such thing as a GMO tomato currently on the market. ALL tomatoes are non-GMO.*
The company received swift backlash, as consumer advocates quickly recognized a deceptive and unnecessary marketing ploy. Hunt’s even acknowledged that “it’s true there are no GMO tomatoes” in an apology posted to their Facebook page.
This type of deceptive marketing represents a distinction without a difference, and confuses consumers by playing on their lack of knowledge, misconceptions or outright fears regarding the ingredients in their food.
Tell Hunt’s you support clear and transparent labeling, and want them to do the same, by tweeting, commenting on Facebook or emailing them today.
*Genetically modified tomatoes were developed in 1994, however they were only available on the market for a short time and are not sold or used for consumption today.