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Monsanto Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

Monsanto's products and technologiesMonsanto is a life sciences company with three separate businesses that share both a common goal, and the technologies to achieve that goal. These three separate businesses include agriculture, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients. Within these business entities, Monsanto has a wide range of products, including herbicides (Roundup), pesticides (DDT), agricultural biotechnology (BST), pharmaceuticals (Nutrasweet) and genetically engineered produce (soy beans) just to name a few.Monsanto's products are developed through genomic technology, the study of genes and their functions. Monsanto used this technology to alter the genes in both animal hormones and in ...view middle of the document...

The European consumer was much more knowledgeable about the genetically modified foods, about 80-90% of the people were aware of food biotechnology, and they were much less willing to purchase these products, only 20-30%. This difference was due in a large part to cultural issues that existed in Europe, but not the US. Having just gotten over the Mad Cow disease epidemic, the European consumer was very cautious about genetically modified foods. At this time the food biotechnology that Monsanto was offering so far had not produced any benefits to the consumer, but appeared to pose a variety of risks. This sentiment added greatly to the differences in Monsanto's experiences in the US verses their experiences in Europe.Monsanto's opposition in Europe and its' decision to push aheadMonsanto's inability to gauge European cultural preferences, coupled with their brash commercial approach and the timing of their arrival in Europe led to their unanticipated conflict. When they decided to expand their market, and offer their products in Europe they assumed their customers would be very similar to their customers here in the US, unfortunately for Monsanto this was an incorrect assumption. According to Hofstede Index European countries are much less risk adverse than the people in the US., with scores of around 70 and 40 respectively in uncertainty avoidance (see exhibit 1). This helps explain both how Monsanto was successful in the US, but also why they were not successful in Europe. Monsanto had a very myopic attitude towards the growing concern of genetically modified foods in Europe, causing them to not think about the ramifications of their actions. Instead they seemed to think they were the large multinational company, and they would be able to shape their consumers behaviors. This grandiose attitude blinded Monsanto from considering the fact that European governments would respond to the publics' concerns of genetically modified foods and band their import and sale.Monsanto did not heed the advice given to them by the Eurocommerce, which was to first educated the consumers about their products, and informe them on all the positives that the genetically modified foods have to offer. Instead Monsanto just brought their products to market, a market that was just getting over mad cow disease, and by doing so lost all credibility to the consumers. Once they put their products on the shelves the consumers in Europe thought that everything Monsanto did and said was a twisting of the truth to try and increase sales and profits. This was due in large part to Monsanto's attitude of how great they thought the technology was, and their inability to listen to the concerns of their potential consumers. Monsanto assumed that because the EU had approved the products that the consumers would automatically accept them, exactly like what had happened in the US.Another reason for the Monsanto backlash was the ethical dilemma brought about by the unproven, yet...

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