The list of food companies fleeing the GMA continues to grow, with Hershey and Cargill announcing their departure. Hershey and Cargill’s split with the GMA follows Campbell Soup Co., Nestlé, Dean Foods, Mars, Tyson, and Unilever making the same decision to terminate their memberships in 2018.
In a statement to POLITICO, Hershey Spokesman Jeff Beckman said, “We will continue to focus our time and resources in 2018 on initiatives that benefit consumers, such as product transparency and delivering a wider range of great snack options to delight consumers.”
Cargill was not immediately available for comment.
On a surface level, food industry giants stepping back from a historically powerful lobbying group might seem risky. However, the companies leaving the GMA are generally supportive of initiatives to increase customer transparency. The GMA, on the other hand, publically lobbied against added sugar labeling, encouraging companies to voluntarily cut back on sodium usage, and other controversial issues brought forth in the Obama era.
Clearly, the viewpoints of GMA and some of its more progressive members are becoming increasingly disjointed. Roger Lowe of the GMA says this: “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. We are always sorry when member companies decide to leave, and hope to work with them on issues of mutual interest in the future.”