Market data now show, for example, significant gains in consumer awareness and commitment to living more sustainable lives. The data also show people are consistently prepared to consider the environmental impact of their food purchases relative to how it impacts the future for their families and humanity.
But does consumer awareness of sustainability translate to competitive advantage? Does consumer intent translate to transactions?
Whether sustainability matters or to what extent it matters in determining consumer behaviors seems to reside somewhere between “it depends” and “it’s evolving.”
Studies and experience show the sweet spot for consumers probably doesn’t relate to the question of price, but to the questions of taste and convenience. While many consumers (35 percent in the U.S.) are willing to pay more for ecologically responsible products, they are increasingly unwilling to compromise when it comes to the taste and convenience of food products and packaging.
How come the environmental movement fell short in its goals and remains marginalized while the food movement has seen continued success and mainstream appeal? At the surface it appears to be counter-intuitive. Two movements, both characterized by similar value systems and built on the value of future rewards. What can explain this disconnect?
The answer lies in the approach and its focus. The environmental movement appealed to altruism and guilt. First, appeal to helping your fellow man and if that fails, scare them into submission with pictures of deforestation, smog, and contaminated rivers. The approach was not centered on the end user’s positive experience or association, but on fear.
The food movement on the other hand has appealed to people’s positive sensual experiences. Buy an organic tomato and taste the difference. Eat more locally grown food and feel better - both physically and mentally. This is not a carrot and stick system, just a carrot one - and organic at that.
However, for the food movement to continue its success and reach the all important tipping point, new technologies need to be created that solve the final piece of the puzzle - convenience. People care about their food. They care about its taste. They care about where it comes from, and how it was grown/raised. The movements current success proves this. Now they need tools that make convenient, enjoyable, and easy. Farmer’s markets and CSAs are great options, but they are not perfect for everyone and it takes time to scale properly.
Let’s use the distribution channels we already have - now. Make it as convenient as freakin’ possible for people to identify the sustainable farmers from the those who are not. Mobile technology represents an excellent opportunity to achieve this. I hope my app can be apart of this movement and help shape its transformation.
- forrealfood posted this