Trade groups for Monsanto, PepsiCo and other major food companies are teaming to form the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF). The group hopes to create one national standard for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling and oppose efforts in various states that are pushing for better consumer information. These inventors and users of genetically modified ingredients claim they want a federal law that pre-empts state legislation that has been brought by anti-GMO activists and has resulted in costly ballot fights in several states.

No matter who wins the labeling game—whether the eventual laws hold industry accountable in the eyes of activists or protect biotech via regulations they're amenable to—one of the leading market research companies says it's time for food companies to prepare for a post-GMO labeling world.

NPD Group’s new survey of Americans’ attitudes about GMOs finds that they’re concerned more about genetically engineered foods and its analysis is readying food and beverage companies for the eventuality of labeling laws. While the full report is intended solely for use by food companies, Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst and author of the report, “Gauging GMO Awareness and Impact,” shared that awareness of such foods is increasing.

More than one-fourth of American adults have heard "a great deal” or “quite a lot” about GMOs. Half of adults say they are concerned about GMOs in their food, and 20% say they are “very/extremely concerned” about GMOs—up from 15% in 2011. The growth in concern over GMOs is outpacing that of other food dangers, such as E. coli, salmonella and high fructose corn syrup, according to the report. And the upward trajectory in GMO awareness and concern should serve as a message to the food industry—despite the high-profile labeling defeats in California and Washington.