Labeling—product information that alerts customers that an item has or may have GMOs—is the focal point for most non-GMO activists. Over the past five years, Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax, California, has developed an increasingly strict non-GMO policy; owner Mark Squire estimates there are only a couple dozen products left on its shelves that are at risk of containing GMOs. For those, says Squire, “we decided to put stickers up saying, ‘This product may contain GMO ingredients, and we are only selling it because there are no alternatives.’”

Some retailers might think they’re sending mixed messages by keeping and labeling GMO products, says INFRA’s Shindelar. But as she points out, “You are [empowering] customers to make informed decisions about the products on your shelves.” As an example, she points to the FishWise labeling program, which identifies the sustainability level of various kinds of seafood—information that discourages many people from choosing less-sustainable species and pushes up demand for better options.

Squire has seen the same results from his GMO labeling program. “If customers have all the information and they make a different choice, that’s a positive thing.”