Most consumers are not aware of what is in the food they are buying (i.e. pesticides, synthetic additives, hormones, antibiotics).
Many think milk is milk and chicken is chicken, so they’ll choose whatever is available and/or cheap. For this reason, I believe it is essential that our baseline, non-specialty food supply improves.
While governmental regulations are sometimes responsible for change, often it is retailers that lead the way, citing customer preference.
In the United States, Whole Foods only sells meats grown without the use of hormones and antibiotics. In England, several large supermarket chains began removing petroleum-based artificial colors from their house brands before the Food Standards Agency (the British equivalent of the FDA) mandated change.
In addition, Wal-Mart’s house brand of milk (Great Value) comes from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. The young girls drinking this milk probably don’t understand the hormone issue (and their parents may not either), but there’s a decent chance that the early-onset puberty so prevalent may arrive several months later than if milk with added hormones was being consumed.
Tomorrow I'll discuss an important change just implemented by an Australian retailer.