Last week, Tyson and Unilever joined a growing list of major food companies leaving the Grocery Manufacturers Association after this year. Both announcements come just weeks after Nestlé and Campbell Soup Company made their GMA departure public. Mars and Dean Foods also recently left the trade organization.
There have now been six major companies to leave the GMA, and the companies have been pretty tight-lipped about their reasons. In an email to Politico, Unilever said it was as a result of an annual assessment of their trade memberships and increased focus on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Tyson hasn’t commented on their reason for departing the GMA, but says they’re “moving toward a more global discussion about the future of food.”
But many speculate it’s because of huge disagreements between the GMA and the companies it represents on key issues, like mandatory GMO labeling, which the GMA lobbied heavily against, but many companies support.
The loss of these major companies means a loss of funding for the GMA, which reduces its lobbying power. But the organization has indicated that it’s looking toward the future. GMA’s VP of Strategic Communication said in a statement: “The food industry is facing significant disruption and is evolving — and so is GMA. We all will continue to evolve and change at an even faster pace.”