All it takes is entering a grocery store and looking around. The signs are everywhere, especially the big ones – banners hanging from ceilings that urge us to “Go Organic” and “Look for the (USDA) Symbol.” A few aisles down, we’re invited to “Choose Natural.”
More and more, consumers are concerned about what they put in and on their bodies, the ingredients in their skincare and the naturalness of their food. We’re coming to understand we can’t trust industries to police or regulate themselves. We’re beginning to take back control of our bodies, our environments, and our futures.
Sales of organic food have grown between 10-15% per year since 2006. Global projections for organic sales exceed 15% per year through 2020. It seems that if food and skincare producers offer quality and responsible business practices, consumers will come.
Failed Wishes for the Non-Organic
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of non-organic producers and distributors who wish organic products would go away. There are. With organic standards providing a trustworthy benchmark for what “natural” is, non-organic producers can’t play so fast and loose with their claims.
Oddly enough, it was many of those same producers and distributors who predicted organic products would go away. For the last several years, it hasn’t taken much searching to find corporate food-and-skincare pronouncements deriding organic products in general. According to the people who don’t make them, organic products are overrated, overpriced, and the truth is, consumers are only being duped by anti-industry extremists (anti-capitalists in many instances) and will return to the mass-produced food-and-skincare fold once the wave has crested and the trend has died.
Cheapness and Pretense
All this from a conglomeration of industries who have always banked on cheapness and the pretense of concern as selling points. No self-respecting marketer would say this out loud, but the assumption behind this thinking is pretty clear, and it doesn’t flatter consumers. It assumes that quality, ingredients, and environmental and health concerns don’t really matter to us. We say they do, but when principles wind up costing us too much, we’ll give them up in a minute.
It shouldn’t have taken massive consumer backlash for industry big-wigs and marketers to understand that talking down to consumers and questioning their intelligence isn’t a smart way to do business. But it did. It seems that when you’re the only game in town – or perceive yourselves that way – laziness and carelessness can set in. Once that happens, arrogance and flawed insights can’t be far behind.
Accentuate the Positive
Forget, for now, the sore losers and marketing shape-shifters that follow losses with the public and in Congress. There’s good news about markets responding to consumer demand. The regulation of GMOs hasn’t been turned over to the GMO industry yet. Campbell’s, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, and ConAgra have announced they will label their products nationwide in order to be in compliance with Vermont’s GMO labeling law. We need to see follow-through in the future to back-up these pledges, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating good news when we can.