Feb. 8, 2018
THE EXODUS FROM GMA CONTINUES: Companies keep bolting from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Kraft Heinz Company and DowDuPont are the two latest heavyweights to part ways with the trade association, Pro Ag's Helena Bottemiller Evich first reported Tuesday.
By now, MA readers are familiar with this drip-drip-drip of departures. GMA, once regarded as the industry's most powerful lobbying group, has been splintering in recent months, as POLITICO has reported. The association has been under pressure as consumers increasingly seek out more healthful fare,. Its members have also disagreed about how to adapt and how to advocate about federal regulations.
The out list: Campbell Soup. Co, Nestlé, Dean Foods, Mars, Tyson Foods and Unilever are among those that have left in recent months.
GMA staff leaving, too: It's not just corporate members that are leaving the association. There has also been a raft of staff exits and retirements amid this tumult. The high-ranking executives who have left or are departing, include Denzel McGuire, executive vice president of government relations, whose last day is Friday. Melissa San Miguel, senior director of global strategies, recently left. Mary Sophos, executive vice president for policy and strategic planning, and Robbie Burns, vice president of health and nutrition policy, have both retired.
From Kraft: Kraft Heinz, which makes Tang, Lunchables and many other popular food brands, confirmed Tuesday its decision to leave. "Following our annual process which includes a review of our trade association memberships, we have decided to focus our efforts through our category specific trade groups and will therefore not be renewing our GMA membership in 2018," a spokesperson said in an email.
From DowDuPont: The company - which makes agrichemicals as well as a variety of packaging and bio-based ingredients for food companies - said it would focus on building relationships with customers. "We decided to make our direct engagement with food companies a top priority and we will not renew our membership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)," DowDuPont said in a statement Tuesday.
GMA pledges changes: A spokesman for GMA said the nonprofit was working to adapt to the changing times. "GMA and its board are moving forward with their work to reinvent a GMA that provides a voice for our industry as our members seek to improve the health and well-being of consumers and society," said Roger Lowe, executive vice president of strategic communications.