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10 Products That Were Shaped By Public Opinion
The Internet has given businesses new ways to interact with clients and consumers in real-time, and this has had a significant impact on the development of new products and how companies source their materials.
Likewise, consumers have new tools to voice their opinions and let businesses know when they feel a change is necessary. Through social media, online polling and other platforms, consumers are more empowered than ever in shaping the products available to them, and corporations and other companies have new, direct market research for product development.
Here are some products that were changed due to public opinion.
1. Chicken McNuggets
In early 2015 McDonald's responded to public demand for healthier food products. As CNBC reported, the largest restaurant chain in the world unveiled changes in the way it sources milk and chicken.
Because of increasing public demand, McDonald's now only uses chickens that have not been fed human antibiotics, which will likely have a ripple effect across the industry. McDonald's also reportedly now only offers milk products that come from cows that have not been given artificial growth hormones.
2. Diet Pepsi
Another massive corporation that has made changes based on public opinion is PepsiCo. In the summer of 2015, it was announced that the artificial sweetener Aspartame would be removed from all Diet Pepsi products. CNN stated that the move came as a result of increased public backlash against the sweetener, and Pepsi was suffering from declining sales.
Aspartame was famously linked to cancer in the 1970's according to CNN, although the federal government refutes any negative effects on human health. Regardless, the public was unwilling to consume the sweetener, and Pepsi was forced to make a switch.
The corporation now uses Sucralose, the same stuff in Splenda, although public opinion has already shifted again.
3. Nestle Products
Another food supplier that has been effected by increased demand for transparency and the removal of unhealthy ingredients is Nestle. The Huffington Post reported that as a result of waning public opinion, Nestle opted to remove artificial ingredients and sodium from their packaged food items in the summer of 2015.
Nestle produces over 250 different food products, and such an overhaul is no small task.
After sky-rocketing into the public eye, fans of Tinder soon began to worry about the quality of the dating app and started flirting with other platforms. As a result of skepticism for the quality of Tinder's match-making ability, Tinder announced an overhaul of its internal algorithm.
CNBC reported that a majority of users were seeking long-term relationships, and for that reason the dating app made changes to help match individuals with deeper compatibility. Since the company launched in 2012, there have been 9 billion Tinder matches worldwide, but evidently public opinion demanded a shift to quality over quantity.
Apple had a very famous spat not with the public but with superstar musician Taylor Swift. The New York Times reported that Apple made changes within 24 hours of Swift's public criticism of iTunes royalty payment policy.
Swift's now famous Tumblr post, "To Apple Love Taylor," debuted in June of 2015, and Apple responded immediately to limit the possibility of Swift's massive following turning on the maker of iPhones and Mac computers.
The most popular social media platform in the world can be used by consumers to voice their opinions and concerns, but in this case Facebook itself was the center of public outcry. In the fall of 2015 the company was forced to re-think its "real name" policy that encouraged users to put their full name on their Facebook page.
According to Engadget, members of the transgender community cited issues with this limiting policy, with fears of ridicule and targeting. Many Native American communities voiced similar concerns. Facebook responded with new tools to better explain a user's name on each page.
Social media isn't the only way the public can influence product development. As USA Today reported back in 2003, the growing popularity of SUVs in the U.S. spurred a strong demand for better gas mileage.
At the time, folks around the country were concerned about the rising cost of gas and the potential for a future energy crisis. Unwilling to part with their beloved SUVs, however, there was a call for auto-makers to improve the capabilities of vehicles across the board.
8. Google Glass
When the first pair of "smart glasses" hit shelves, the public was less than impressed. The general consensus was that they were too bulky, difficult to use and not worth such an exorbitant price tag. Public opinion of Google Glass was so low that it was pulled from production in January 2015.
As a result, Google is working on a much sleeker model, according to the Independent. It is said to be less intrusive and have a more innate user interface.
9. NFL football
America's most popular sports league has been consumed with the public's concerns over player safety, specifically in regards to concussions. The controversy continues, although the league did attempt to make changes in 2011.
The league opted to move kick-offs up to the 35 yard line in an effort to make returns safer and limit the possibility of severe injuries, according to the NFL's website. This has resulted in many more touchbacks. Players and coaches around the league were vocal about their disdain for the rule, saying it compromised an exciting part of the NFL product.
10. SeaWorld shows
The now infamous documentary Blackfish has caused massive overhaul within SeaWorld's policies as a result of immense public pressure. The amusement park chain is famous for its shows starting Shamu and other orcas performing amazing tricks, and Blackfish blew the lid on the inhumane treatment of the animals.
The documentary struck a chord in the American public, and Fox reported that SeaWorld suffered a huge drop in attendance rates and stock value as a result. The company has been toying with changes to the program and its animal care policies ever since.
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