As we have access to more information, we are making decisions about what we buy based on more than just fulfilling an immediate need: food, clothing, transport. We are making decisions based on how these things appeal to emotional, and psychological needs. We want the back story, we want it to sit well with our ethical, health and moral code and now we have access to information that assists us make more informed decisions. Those industries that have held back information, be warned, and get prepared for the back lash. You can run but ultimately, you can’t hide.
Let’s look at the grocery market industry.
The grocery market is big business and it appears they are extremely powerful over deciding what the farmers produce and thus what we eat.
This week I watched the Film Food Inc. It is the documentary of how food lands on our table. With a few documentaries on food in the last few years, we have access to new information about how our food is produced. Films like: FedUp, Supersize Me and That Sugar Film. All of these films and other resources are lifting the veil on an industry that has been directing our food choices by holding back information. Now that we have this information, my guess is we are going to make better, informed choices as consumers. There are few places to hide and if you do, the black lash will be huge.
Aussie Farmers this week launched a campaign on their website about food and where it comes from. (Yes, I am an Aussie Farmer shopper). Up until now they haven’t pushed the message about “Where does your food come from?” but it is a really important discussion. A few weeks ago we all read about Nanna’s Mixed Berries (frozen) and the Hepatitis A contamination. We were made aware of the process by which berries were being farmed in other countries with in sanitary farming practices, in the case of the berries they were believed to be washed with infected water. It made us question what other unsafe food practices that we aren’t aware of?
We are now making decisions about what food we eat using a different criteria:
- Buy local to keep our farmers in business – $12 million is imported food each year.
- What is safe, and how do we know? The frozen berries was unfortunate incident was a wake-up call for all of us, what other practices we don’t yet know about?
What is the government not telling us in labelling? A carton of orange juice can legally be labelled as “Made in Australia’’ when 90% of it is imported concentrate.
What food is in season and when and if not what has been done to make it available to us out of season?
Travel and storage of food: The average shopping basket of 25 food items bought in Aussie supermarkets has travelled a staggering 70,803 kilometres.
Fat was always the enemy however, sugar is additive, it is hidden in so many foods and we have widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.
With supermarket shopping selves ever expanding it feels like we have more choice, but this is no necessarily the case. Going deeper and we will uncover practices that smell fishy. We buy groceries from supermarket chains many of which sell multiple brands of the same product, which leads us to believe that we are choosing among competitors when they are actually just choosing among products made by the same firm that may have been made at the same factory.
Food is just one example I wanted to share of how consumers are now making decisions on a new set of criteria, but this quest for wanting to know more about what we spend money on is happening in every category and giving rise to new businesses based on transparency and choice.
Bupa Food Switch App – allows us to pick the best food alternative while shopping and scanning a bar code.
Food Revolution – Jamie Oliver aiming to educate every child about healthy food choices. Sign the Change org now.
World Health Organisation