Campbell Soup Co. Chief Executive Denise Morrison said Wednesday during the company's investor event that the company will withdraw from the Grocery Manufacturer's Association (GMA), a major food association, by the end of the calendar year. The decision, according to Morrison, is "not financial," but rather "driven by purpose and principles." Morrison's remarks focused on the company's goal of being "the leading health and well-being food company," which includes an emphasis on transparency as a means of building trust with consumers, particularly millennials. GMA defended its own efforts at transparency in a comment emailed to MarketWatch. "It was GMA's leadership that helped achieve passage in 2016 of a national standard for GMO disclosure," said Roger Lowe, executive vice president of strategic communications for the GMA. "We supported an option that can provide consumers more information about GMOs than could ever fit on a label." Lowe said the group's transparency tool SmartLabel is expected to be used by 30,000 products by the end of the year, and it's working with the Food Marketing Institute on "common wording" for product dating intended to reduce consumer confusion and waste. Campbell shares closed Wednesday up 3.1%, but are down 13.1% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index is up 10.5% for 2017 so far.
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