Cheerios Listens to Popular Opinion, Removes GMOs


Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

General Mills’ Cheerios sent a strong message this week by removing GMOs from the generations-old cereal.

The debate about  GMOs has been hotly contested—especially following reports from prestigious institutions like Stanford, Oxford and Berkley, which revealed GMOs might not be all that bad for you. Still, public opinion seems to skew towards eliminating GMOs, or at least clearly labeling them.

The company is downplaying the change somewhat, and said it’s not about safety concerns or pressure. Tom Forsythe, VP of global communications, indicated that the change is minimal, and consumers should still continue to enjoy the product as they have.

There are several takeaways here for PR pros. For starters,  the announcement has generated a lot of positive earned media for General Mills and the Cheerios brand.

But there's more at play here. By eliminating GMOs from Cheerios, General Mills is showing that it listens to popular opinion. The company is demonstrating that it's willing to transform or evolve when necessary, even if that means shaking up its day-to-day operation.

The bottom line: General Mills had little to lose here.  GMOs are not popular, and in the future foods containing GMOs will more than likely have to be labeled. That label could prove to be a stigma for some products, which means removing GMOs now is a safe bet for the future—and smart communications.

Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW

Comments Off


About Caysey Welton

Caysey Welton is Associate Editor at PR News and Folio: Magazine. He spent more than a decade as a chef and restaurant professional before switching tracks to pursue his passion for media and communications. Caysey has a deep interest in converging media landscapes and ecosystem disruptors, public relations and crisis communications. He holds a BS in Media, Culture and Communications from New York University.

Deals of the Week

Get $200 Off PR News' Digital PR Conference

Join us June 1-3 where you'll hear from top brands such as Walmart, Miami Heat, Verizon and Ritz-Carlton on PR and communication best practices for the next wave of digital trends.

Use code “200off” at checkout to save $200 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Book of Employee Communications


In this 5th volume of PR News’ Book of Employee Communications, our authors cover more than 45 articles on crisis communications, social media policies, human resources collaboration, brand evangelism and more.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription


Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.