What is in this article?:
- Indie natural retailer prompts Kashi to go non-GMO
- Q&A: John Wood of The Green Grocer spills his secrets
Kashi pledges to go non-GMO with its major product lines in response to consumer backlash caused by a viral photo from The Green Grocer. Meet the independent retailer who made it all happen and get his advice for becoming an organic advocate.
After a whirlwind of a week for Kellogg-owned Kashi Company, the natural cereal and granola giant has announced its intent to ditch GMOs in two existing product lines by 2014. And by 2015, all new Kashi foods will contain 70 percent organic ingredients and also be Non-GMO Project Verified. While the company was already moving toward non-GMO, what prompted this sudden announcement?
Perhaps it was consumer outrage to an anti-GMO viral photo circulated on Facebook created a PR nightmare for Kashi—one that the company tried to curb with a video response that didn't satisfy consumers. Yesterday, the brand offered a more satisfying response to its customers, and one that's surely capturing the attention of natural retailers as they evaluate their role in effecting healthy change in the market.
That's because the viral photo wasn't circulated by a major organic advocacy group. Instead, it originated from Rhode Island-based The Green Grocer, an independent natural retailer with eight employees.
The store is five years old and is just hitting its stride this year, said owner John Wood. Only two other natural retailers are located on Aquidneck Island with The Green Grocer, and there are no big box retailers to offer competition.
It may seem an unlikely place for the next biggest organic advocate to emerge, but that’s exactly what happened after Vermont resident Nancy Wilson posted The Green Grocer's photo to her Facebook wall with the message, "I love it when stores are brave enough to tell the truth!"
Had she not tagged The Green Grocer in her photo, the retailer may not have been able to watch as the photo topped 11,195 shares (as of today's publication). After being featured on USA Today, the Huffington Post, newhope360, countless blogs and in his local newspaper, Wood tells us his true feelings on Kashi and what the past week means for the future of his store.