GMO

Projected Nutrition Trends for 2015: Part 2

Nutrition Trends: My Projections for 2015 

  1. Inflammation - Consumers will become more interested with the role that inflammation plays in chronic disease development and learn about the big picture of inflammation.  This will hopefully lead to promoting fruits/vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, omega-3s, legumes and ancient grains and discouraging sugar, trans fats, processed foods, excessive grain/starch products, fatty and cured meat products.  There is potential for the message to get confusing when discussing things such as types of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA vs EPA vs DHA), proper supplementation, analyzing omega-6:omega-3 ratio, and dairy intake.
  2. More ingredient-specific food marketing - With words such as "Natural" and "Superfoods" being recognized as simply media hype, consumers are starting to get more savvy with reading the ingredient list - which means food companies are going to get more savvy with pushing the "good" and denouncing the "bad".
  3. Consumer push for GMO information - The debate on GMOs and their impact is only just starting.  With the call for more transparency in the food supply, labeling GMO presence is starting to become the standard.  Many still aren't sure what to do with this information, but getting it on the label will help further the discussion.
  4. Let's get cooking and gardening - This has been on the up and up for years, in large part due to the social media boost of instagram, pinterest boards, and rise of the DIY and food blogging realm.  The cacophony begins to organize itself into more concrete messaging and useful layman resources.

GMO Labeling: Making History

What is GMO?Photo courtesy of csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood

Genetically Modified Organisms are anything that is grown using genetic engineering technology.   Genetic engineering means that these products have been modified by scientists to have greater incidence of a specific trait or outcome.  Genetic engineering is more accurate and faster than traditional breeding, but many questions are raised regarding health benefits (or lack thereof), unintended consequences, ecological impact, and intellectual property law.  For example, there are strains of tomatoes that are genetically modified to not ripen as quickly so that they last longer for consumers.  

The FDA reports that there are currently about 45 genetically modified plant varieties in the marketplace.  For more information and interesting statistics please see the Biotechnology section of the USDA Economic Research Service.

A Good Day for Connecticut

Consumers are becoming more informed regarding what GMOs are, and want to have this information available to them while grocery shopping.  Connecticut just became the first state to pass GMO labeling laws (with a unanimous vote in the Senate and 134-3 vote in the House in favor!).  The language in this bill will allow consumers in CT to have greater transparency and make informed decisions.  It does however require four states (at least one of which bordering, ahem) to pass similar legislation.  

It was written this way so that local small farms and businesses were shielded from being at a competitive disadvantage.  I hope that the passing of this bill helps drive momentum for consumer advocacy across the country.  This is soundly written legislation that I am proud to say was driven by the consumer pushing for their own beliefs of full disclosure.

Take Home Message

We'll have to explore the pros and cons of GMOs in another blog post because there's so much more that can be said!  When I was reading some of my old blogs to see if I have discussed GMOs in the past, I came across a blog I had written four years ago now, "What does organic really mean?".   It's funny, I ended that blog four years ago with the same sentiment I planned to write tonight: 

The ultimate goal in this country surrounding food and nutrition isn't necessarily that all consumers make the same food decisions (organic vs. non-organic, fast food vs. slow food) or even that they always make healthy decisions, but rather that they make informed decisions.