Environment friendly, sustainable livelihood, handmade, social responsibility, healthy, organic, etc. have become the buzz words for the current generation of marketers and the corporates and companies they represent. With many conscious individuals realising the damage, we humans have been causing the enviroment and ourselves and opting for a lifestyle that is in sync with the environment and their natural state of being, these words work like the ultimate bait to project ones wares as life changing and inspiring.
Shallow as we are, we rarely go beyond the packaging, the charming facade that covers the same crap in a fancier way. If you have ever attended a marketing brainstorm meeting, you will know, sometimes it is quite simple to convert an existing inorganically made product into an organic one. A new description, a new label, a new packaging design and Voila! You have an organic and eco friendly variant, demanding a higher price tag for being natural.
If such practices exist and we are fooled, it is because we as customers are not yet ready to take responsibility for our choices. We are happy, indulging ourselves with the thought that by buying products, that come with eco friendly, organic tags we have done our bit. We would rather spend thousands buying genetically modified, steroid ingested food items in a mall, than from the local vendors or markets where sellers directly grow their produce or source it from small time farmers. And if we do, we do not shy away from bargaining profusely, something we would never do at an air conditioned supermarket as it would be inappropriate. This rule applies to everything, if its not fancily packaged it deserves to be cheap, even if its more genuine than any of the other stuff you will see around.
According to a report in the India Today earlier this year
“The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was issued a legal notice by the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) for issuing the ‘organic’ certificate and logo to companies caught cheating consumers.
The federation, in its notice, blamed the food authority for letting “fake, wrongly labelled and misbranded organic products” deceive millions of consumers in India.
The CCFI had collected and shared 25-30 samples from across the country where organic brands were clearly found flouting and misusing the certificate and logo issued by the FSSAI. The federation has also alleged that these companies were spreading deliberate misinformation about conventional food consumed by a large number of people.
To top it, it was found that the FSSAI had not booked a single violator for mislabeling products sold as organic in the past eight years.
Some of the samples collected by the federation were manufactured by the biggest brands in the organic industry in the country.”
At a convention in March this year, Assistant Food Safety Commissioner, A.K. Mini was heard saying.
“Much of the organic foods available in the markets are fake, Marketers of most organic products are cheating customers by charging more through false claims and this sector is now growing into one of the biggest ways through which people are cheated”.
You just have to spend a few minutes searching the Internet, the truth is out there.
Do we know, how opting for organic products really helps the environment? Before joining the blind rush for organic food or products, did we try to find out, why orgnic is a better choice, that is if its real?
- Organic food contains fewer harmful hormones and pesticides than conventional food.
- Organic production helps conserve and protect water
- Organic agriculture reduces carbon dioxide and helps slow climate change.
- Organic farming helps combat serious soil problems, such as erosion.
- Soil erosion doesn’t sound like a consumer issue, but it truly affects the planet, causing problems for the land, food supply and humans.
Unless we as individuals realise that caring for our environment and for ourselves is not a passing fad, but a way of life, we are never really going to appreciate the truly good things in life. We have to take time and educate ourselves to differentiate, to tell real from fake, unless we do that, we will continue to be duped by smart brands and smarter marketers driving them, and unknowingly contribute towards the ongoing damage to our environment.
Next time you visit a store and pick that organic food packet, remember to read its source, to find out how far it has travelled to reach you, the further it travels, the longer the shelf life, the less real it is going to be.
Jaago grahak! Jaago!
Post By Merlin Francis