Question 1: Based on your viewing of Food, Inc., how does your view of “farm-fresh” and other marketing messages that suggest a more organic flow of food products relate to the realities of 21st-century marketing channels for food?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (http://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx). The marketing mix consists of product, price, place, promotion, which means that a company needs to sell the right product at the right price and in the right place, using the best promotion. Because of all of this, “farm-fresh” and organic foods must fight in the marketplace against traditionally farmed foods.
Looking at the product: what exactly makes a food organic? Organic can mean different things to different people, and even has a different meaning between companies. According to organic.org, the USDA defines organic food as that which is produced with emphasized use of renewable resources, plus conservation of soil and water. Organic food is produced without conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetics or waste, bioengineered, or ionized radiation. “Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones” (http://www.organic.org/home/faq). A government-approved certifier must inspect farms where organic foods are grown to assure that the farmer follows all USDA rules and meets organic standards.
Price is a large factor when most people go grocery shopping, especially during these tough economic times. Many, including myself, can argue that organic or “farm-fresh” foods are just too expensive to buy on a regular basis, or even at all. Personally, I will buy whichever brand is cheapest, without paying attention to where or how it is produced. According to organic.org, one should consider the following facts when wondering why an organic product might cost more than it’s traditionally grown counterpart: Conventional farmers receive federal subsidies, while organic farmers do not, so the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing. Environmental cleanups, that we pay for with our tax dollars, is not reflected in conventional food. Organic production is more labor and management intensive. And finally, organic farms do not benefit from the economies of scale that larger, more conventional farmers receive.
The placement of organic foods is generally next to conventional foods in most grocery stores. Some stores may have a separate organic section, or the organic product could be placed next to its conventionally grown counterpart. Some grocery stores, such as Natural Grocers, only sell USDA approved organic or naturally grown produce and meat, and would not be concerned with placement.
Organic foods are generally promoted as being more nutritious than conventional foods. Although, organic.org admits that there is not research to back this claim, at this time, there are studies that show that organic food has a higher nutritional value. This makes since, considering they are grown more naturally, with less chemicals. This film does expose something about organic or “farm-fresh” foods: the American food industry is supposed to be protected by the USDA and FDA, but they have been allowing these suppliers to focus on profit and put aside consumer health, the environment, and worker safety.
Question 2: Based on your answer to Question 1, are you likely to change how and where you procure your foods (i.e., grocery stores, farmers’ markets, fast-food outlets)? Please explain your reasons.
I have never been concerned about how my food was made or where it came from. I have never paid attention to organic foods, GMOs, all-natural, or anything related to the production of the foods I eat. As far as I...
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