"While the food industry’s use of public relations to shape public opinion and policy making is not new, the level of spending, the increase in the use of front groups and the deployment of covert social media tactics is unprecedented." Friends of the Earth
According to a new report, “Spinning Food," the industrial food and agricultural sector spent hundreds of millions of dollars from 2009 to 2013 to spin the media, drive consumer behavior and advance its policy agenda.
Here’s a partial breakdown:
• $126 million spent by 14 food industry front groups that often appear in the media as independent sources but are funded by and serve the interests of the industrial food sector. Six of these front groups have launched just since 2011.
• More than $600 million spent by four major trade associations—CropLife America, BIO, Grocery Manufacturers Association, and American Meat Institute—that promote and defend the agendas of pesticide, biotech and conventional food corporations (including but not limited to PR activities).
• Tens of millions of dollars a year on communications campaigns by the federal check-off programs for beef, corn, soybeans and dairy; as well as hundreds of millions more spent to market companies and products in this sector. For example, in 2013 Monsanto alone spent $95 million on marketing.