General mills Inc. is a leading breakfast cereal companies in the world with brands such as Chex, Cocoa, Puffs, Kix, Trix, total and Cheerios. In addition to these, it produces other food lines such as betty Crocker dessert mixes, gold medal flour, Yoplait yogurt, pop secret microwave popcorn and nature valley granola bars. The company markets its products in over 90 countries worldwide (Chassy, et al). The company began to expand internationally in 1989 and has formed partners with cereal partners such as Nestle SA, a Swiss based food product giant. In 1993, general mills experienced slowdown in the core business of food products and brand name cereals. The company hired new staffs during the year to enable the company overcome the challenge. The company reaped more than $8 billion, with the consumer packaged products taking a two third of the total revenue collected. The principal subsidiaries of the company include Colombo Inc., general mills (BVI) ltd, general mills France, gold medal insurance co, Lloyd food products, Inc, mills media and Yoplait USA Inc. The strengths of the brands and breadth of opportunities provide foods that consumer demand and these are some of the factors that solidify the confidence in the growth model. The company continues to grow the revenues and sales due to it innovation and technology advances in the field of food processing. The company has also increased its research and developments in the field of food processing that gives it a competitive advantage over its competitors.
General mills share price performance from 1995 to 2015 each averaged to 11 per cent annual return. The company strong brands has made the company grow faster in sales in 2015 jumping to $1.3 billion compared to that of 1995 that was $115 million. In the world, it is understood that food preferences are changing. People are now focusing on natural foods with simpler ingredients. People are avoiding artificial ingredients, simple carbohydrates and gluten. People want more of proteins and fibre and whole grain. They are focusing much on snacks and natural and organic products. These changes have created tremendous opportunities for the company. Genetically modified food has led to disputes over the use of foods and other products derived from the genetically modified crops. There is dispute that involves the consumers, farmers and food production companies. The controversies is whether the food should be labelled, the impact of GMO on human health, effect on pesticide resistance and the role of crops in feeding the world population. There are two critical issues in the regulations of the GMOs; that is, whether the administration possessed adequate legal power to control biotechnology. The second issue is whether the regulations should preside over the process of production or the products of biotechnology. In the current world, the field of GMOs is still under debate and many countries have banned the use of GMOs. There are difference opinions from scientists in US and that of European regarding impact of GMO food on human health.
Public and policy position on GMO foods
Public opinion on GMOs is a mixed reaction in USA. There are a series of the polls conducted over the five years from 2001 to 2006, which revealed that understanding of the biotechnology by the public was relatively low. The consumers are unaware of the extent to which the foods they consume included genetically modified ingredients. Public opinion opposing the genetically modified ingredients was higher than those respondents who were in favour of them. From the scholarly opinions, most scientists in the US issued statements that the GMO indicates no evidence of safety risks when compared to other conventionally made products(Fernandez, et al). The public opinion on GMO crops shows that their health is at risks that are caused by these crops.
Policy position on issue of GMO is protection of human health and the environment. GM products should be assessed. The marketing of GM foods require a serious assessment to ensure that the people are safe and the environment is protected. Consumers, environment and farmers have outstretched objections regarding the GM food products. They argue that there are harmful chemical applied to GM crops. Most of the concerns of the public opinion are the potential effects of GM crops to human health, contamination of non-GM crops due to pollenization and toxicity due to increasing use of chemicals.
Scientist's opinion on the GMO crops supports the farmers to have access of technology and being able to adopt it. They recognise that the GMO crops will deliver benefits to the consumers, farmers and the world population at large, and will provide safe and responsible crops that is not harmful. The GMO addresses the long term challenges of food security, climate change and the need to bring a sustainable agricultural production. Scientists argue that most of the developing nations need GMO for solving the prevailing challenges and, therefore, they should make informed decisions regarding the use of GMO crops. Scientist also believes that GMO should continue and should not be labelled to encourage fair market access, encourage innovations and economic growth. Anyone who wants to release GM organisms in the market should first get formal authorisation (Negowetti).
Under the political arena, genetically modified foods have created a political furore in US. There are those that support GM foods and argue that it is the biggest achievement in farming. Politicians who oppose the GM crops argues that these foods trigger serious problems to health and environment. Environmental activists are pessimistic about the GMO crops, hence terming GM crops as a ‘potential tragedy’ and ‘scientifically nonsensical’.
Americans insist that they have the highest food safety standards in the world and that the new products are analysed and approved by the US department of agriculture. The Americans are also arguing on the point of the number of years they have been eating GM foods without suffering. This argument is meant to protest against the trade barriers that limit the imports of agricultural products and refusal of entry and use of the GM corn, which costs $200 million of lost sales (Barta).
The major concerns of scientists and the agribusiness leaders are that GM industry may remain undeveloped due to unfounded resistance by the public. Recently, most European suppliers and food producers are reducing the GM organisms in the food chain. This seem to continue maybe until the policy decisions regarding the GM food is arrived, including light of reliable, comprehensive and objective information. Mills Company has invested hundreds of millions in the research and development for the GM food crops to get their views clearly. Global sales of the GM crop products have grown since 1995 to 2010. Over the years, US has been involved in the public education on GM crops. Most of the critics have not changed their mind. Critics’ inn US have failed to convince the federal and provincial government and now they are focusing on the local authorities where they have in mind that politicians will be swayed easily by the public opinion.
GM seeds should be patented as an intellectual property. This will enable GMOs to be owned, controlled, sold as well as legally protected by the company; this will give the company ultimate power over food. Our findings are that GMOs plants and crops control the largest market share of GMO market selling in the world. Another finding is that GMO is the latest innovation that is meant to improve the lives of the world population. This will be possible through production of crops that are sustainable to the changing world climate. Another findings is that GMOs are banned in many countries especially those in European Union. In Canada, debate is under way on whether to ban the sale of GMOs or not. Our findings show that most of the genetically modified food crops are grown in USA. The examples of the crops grown in USA include; soybeans, corn, cotton and sugar beets (Bain and Tamera). The lists of the GM crops seem to be short, but their by-products are the one mostly used in the world. GMOs are used in the processed foods such as tomato sauce, tofu and bread. GM is mostly used to feed animals that produce milk, eggs and meat and, therefore, the GMOs are also getting into our products such as cheese, ice cream and veggie burgers (Green, Daniel R., and Christine). Even non-food items such as shampoo, detergents, soaps and bubble bath mostly contain GMO ingredients (Frewer et al).
We have found that for more than two decades now, no researches have been done regarding human safety of the GMO products. There is no American scientists who have investigated the levels of the toxics in the GMO foods(Gelles). We have also found that there are no researches done on the level of herbicides and the pesticides that enters human body once we consume genetically engineered products. The current status of the GMOs is majorly found in the processed food consumed in US. The current status in US is that cancer rates are very high. Millions of acres in US soil underneath are saturated with the toxics products due to increasing use of herbicides and pesticides to counteract the resistant insects and weeds. We have seen rise on the natural health costs to an extent of tripling.
Recommendations are that the company should make it clear that is is improving nutrition and crop yield. Also the evaluation of the product should be carried on food and should sell approved food products by the food directorate. The company should ensure that it has sets clear expectations for compliance and ethics. General Mills need to continue with gathering information from both the opponents and the scientists on issues regarding the GM products.
Bain, Carmen, and Tamera Dandachi."Governing GMOs: The (Counter) Movement for Mandatory and Voluntary Non-GMO Labels."Sustainability 6.12 (2014): 9456-9476.
Barta, Jennifer. "General Mills: Challenges and Opportunities in Leveraging Innovation to Improve Profitability." Cereal Foods World 60.1 (2015): 16-17.
Chassy, Bruce, et al. "Organic Marketing Report." (2014).
Fernandez, A., et al. "Endogenous allergens and compositional analysis in the allergenicity assessment of genetically modified plants."Food and Chemical Toxicology 62 (2013): 1-6.
Frewer, Lynn, et al. "Attitudes towards genetically modified animals in food production." British Food Journal 116.8 (2014): 1291-1313.
Gelles, David. "The mind business." mind 5 (2012): 15.
Green, Daniel R., and Christine Nowakowski. "Low sugar presweetened dry coated cereals and method of preparation." U.S. Patent No. 8,119,174. 21 Feb. 2012.
Negowetti, Nicole E. "National Natural Standard for Food Labeling, A."Me. L. Rev. 65 (2012): 581.