What’s the big deal with all the negative marketing anyway? Who cares? Do whatever it takes to get your product to take the lead, right?
Well, I guess that’s one way to look at it.
Here’s another example of shocking negative marketing that I found shared on Facebook this week – “buy organic or face the consequences!” from MSN.
Wondering what some of their sources are? CNN.com, wired.com, PBS.org, WSJ.com, and CBSNews.com. These aren’t exactly reputable, peer-reviewed science journals. And yet these claims are presented as undisputable facts.
And not one single statement about the positives of eating organic foods – just the negatives about eating non-organic foods.
Are you scared yet? Should you be?
Is fear the best way to make a decision?
Not for me. I don’t want to be scared, guilted, or shamed into making a decision. I want to do some research, look for the pros and cons, and come to my own conclusions.
What are some possible consequences?
What does all this negative marketing mean for you? Will it change the way you purchase food? Are you sure? These are three unintended consequences I see potentially coming from all this negative marketing.
- Higher costs at the grocery store. It costs more to farm in any of these smaller niche markets, whether you’re talking about sweet corn, soybeans, apples, or beef. So the food costs more at the grocery store. While most Americans spend less than 15% of their annual income on food, some are not so lucky, and it takes everything they can do to feed their families.
- Less choice for farmers. Yes, you can absolutely say that farmers should grow what people want to buy. But I also think that farmers should be able to grow the types of foods they want, the way they want – as long as there is a market for it. With a big push towards organic, local, and GMO-free foods, many farmers are having to make difficult choices about changing what they grow, the way they farm, and what companies they work with, just to stay in business. Every business needs to change with the times. But it’s not that easy to make big changes on farms quickly. Farms must use organic practices for 3 years before they can become USDA Certified Organic. If GM labels come into place, farmers who use a combination of GM and non-GM crops will need separate equipment and storage facilities to work with the different crops, at a major expense. What about those farmers who are not interested in making a change, or don’t have the money to invest, or would rather retire than continue farming if it means an overhaul of their current business? They will quit farming, and that will be one less farm we have to provide food.
- Less choice for consumers. One of the things I love about going to the grocery store right now is the huge selection. I can pick organic celery, or I can choose the less expensive non-organic option (that is on the shelf right next to the organic one). I can get the conventionally grown bagged apples, or I can choose the organic apples. I can choose a turkey that was raised without antibiotics, or I can choose the less expensive turkey that was given antibiotics if it got sick. I can wander down the “health food” aisle for my pick of organic, “natural” options, or I can head down the “junk food” aisle to pick up cookies and chips. I can get produce at the big grocery chain, at the locally-owned grocery store, or at the produce stand up the road. It’s my decision. But the “vocal few” who are pushing for only organic, only no added hormones, only antibiotic-free, only local are working very hard to limit my choices. They want me to only be able to purchase what they think I should buy, not what I think I should buy. I don’t appreciate being told what to do or what decisions to make, especially by someone I don’t know, and especially when I disagree with their choices.
Do you think these are realistic? What other unintended consequences do you anticipate from the negative food marketing?