The world’s largest food company, Nestlé, has decided to leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) at the end of the year, according to a report by Politico. The food manufacturer has been at odds with the GMA because of three labeling issues, and due to differences in opinion, the popular food and beverage maker has decided to back out of the GMA.
The Swiss company is the second largest food and beverage manufacturer to announce its withdrawal from the GMA this year. In June, Campbell Soup Co. announced its plans to leave the trade association by the end of the year.
In a statement to Food Business News, Roger Lowe, executive vice-president of strategic communications for the GMA said, “Companies decide to join and leave trade associations for a variety of reasons over time. We are disappointed when a member company decides to leave our trade association and pleased when companies of all sizes join to be part of our work on consumer transparency, sustainability, product safety, nutrition and retailer collaboration.”
The move comes after Nestlé publicly disagreed with the GMA’s proposed labeling policies. In 2013 Nestlé, along with PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, spent millions of dollars on a counter campaign against the GMA’s Initiative 522. In order to counteract the GMA’s proposition to label products that contain GMOs, the three manufacturers devised a “No on 522” campaign that promoted GMOs as entirely safe to the health of consumers. Nestlé also has been at odds with the GMA on mandatory labeling on added sugars and voluntarily cutting back on sodium.
“Our work with the retail industry is empowering consumers with more tools and information to make informed choices. SmartLabel is being widely adopted with more than 14,500 products already providing more information than ever could fit on a package label, and our product code dating initiative will reduce consumer confusion and food waste. Nestlé’s participation in GMA will be missed, and we hope there will be a time when they will rejoin us,” added Lowe.
Though Nestle is leaving the GMA, they may soon be neighbours. The conglomerate is planning to move its US headquarters from Glendale, California to Rosslyn, Virginia. The GMA is also moving to Rosslyn, making it likely that these two companies are to be around the corner from each other.