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Food Politics, Honesty & Perception

May 2, 2012

The food front is buzzing. Here at SlowMoneyFarm it’s just another day preparing for the consumer demand we hope is more truth than hype. Will people really buy direct? Are food choices really something people want?

While we are interested in providing food choices, our size doesn’t allow us to serve a large amount of people. As I put the chicks out in the brooder and observed them for a bit, I thought about food choices.

These are key birds for our program, still small and growing. The clear sides allows them to see out while still being protected from owls, dogs, cats and other critters who would like to have chicken nuggets without the wait. On the left side and that end is poultry netting, keeping them in but allowing plenty of ventilation as well. There is plenty of room to add the new arrivals as well.

We can’t fill 2,000 partial finished birds per week. As I read this morning of the outcry against Kashi foods for dishonesty in marketing, I was stumped why the same tactic was discounted not that long ago. Only difference is instead of “natural” food it’s with “integrity”. Now I didn’t mince many words about it.

The marketing with Kashi was the use of “natural” when, in reality, when there wasn’t organic to fill demand other grains – including possibly GMO – was used. Even though it’s the image people want, people feel betrayed. Some comments: “If you are willing to spend your money on higher brand “Natural” health remedies, and foods, but not willing to spend the time to research if the claims are accurate, then that is your mistake…It is like any other purchase you buy, research.” Another said “Eventually the truth comes out when you mislead your customers of today will let you know and rightfully so hold you in contempt of your actions.”

Now while that issue was swirling around, another news item caught my eye. This Fox News report hits close to home. “Matt Monk, 29, of Birmingham, Ala., a customer service representative for Medicare, said he grew up eating chicken breasts because that’s all his mother would cook. He wasn’t introduced to dark meat until he moved in with his father in his teens.”

It tells of chefs not being able to get enough dark meat – demand outstrips supply for volume. Now you, dear reader, can get and make use of the same dark meat with buying whole chicken – cut up right in your own kitchen you know how it’s processed.

Muscovy drakes

 

Are marketing claims of “natural” or “ethical” or “humane” effective? Sure they are! However, they’re also perspective – and when the reality doesn’t meet up with the consumer’s expectation and perspective, they feel lied to. It’s personal because they trusted the company with their food. “How dare you!” becomes calls for boycotts even though, it’s true, many other products use the same type of marketing issues.

It underscores again why we don’t feel a need to condemn other choices. At the same time, there are more people buying Kashi, dining in “ethical” sourced restaurants (when available – no one thinks about when it’s not available nor wants to) than buy from us. One comment referred to Kashi could demand GMO free. Why 10,000 acres is only 10-20 farms so no problem. With comments like that, the small operations still aren’t considered. Volume, price, convenience and perception. This sells. Marketing savvy sells. In the mean time – for those wanting something different we’ll have whole chicken – including that dark meat and the boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Food choices. We embrace it, support it, offer it.

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