Beyond Labelling

After years campaigning to improve labelling standards on its products, and hoping other supplier would follow its lead, Co-operative Group has given up on sluggish manufacturers and decided to go it alone. It has decided to impose its own 'supra-labelling' over the top of manufacturer's labelling systems. By flagging high sugar and salt content to consumers through a simple traffic light scheme it aims to bypass the morass of partial, confusing or downright misleading labelling which exists at present. It's a brave step and we applaud them. This is great news for consumers and the first step towards retailers truly acting as consumer champions. However, it is just the tip of the iceberg as far as consumer accountability is concerned. To address the concerns of people like Friends of the Earth, FMCG organisations must adopt total value-chain transparency. Instead of focusing purely on explaining on intrinsic product attributes (nutrition), retailers must start to consider extrinsic effects of a product: its effect on the environment; the labour practices of its suppliers, the biodegradability of its packaging...biodiversity labelling, energy labelling could all follow. However, this point of purchase labelling is not actually necessary. All that is required is product transparency. Instead of intervening in education, get manufacturers to share their value-chain data directly with consumers. And then allow these consumers to demand the information they want. This is no small task...as transparency pioneers ROMP have discovered. They have actually done it!


Witches Knickers

Witches Knickers is Irish slang for plastic bags, the New Scientist tells us this week, referring to the phenomenon of discarded bags blown off landfill or off city street-corners, and caught in trees. Otherwise known as white pollution, plastic bags are jokingly referred to as national flower of South Africa! The latest victim of plastic bag pollution was a Minky whale, washed up in Normandy with 800 kg of plastic bags in its guts. Many countries are already acting to ban plastic bags under 30 micrometres (the UK's average plastic bag is jusy 18 micrometres and totally unsuited for reuse!) These plastic bags make up 56% of beach litter, according to the Marine Conservation Society. Isn't it time the supermarkets made a bit more effort to promote re-usables?


5-a-day message getting through...

I passed a street market this morning on my way into work, and was struck by the adoption of 'packaging' by fruit salesmen. One apple, one bunch of grapes, one tangerine, one kiwi fruit and one banana - and a basket! All you need for a long day at the office. Long before Iceland decided to adopt a '5-a-day' logo for application on all its fruit and veg products, the 'street' was already reacting. http://www.iceland.co.uk/ext_11/web/press.nsf/ca5bd6e34a9e994180256c1400568e2a/8750a275fcbd1dd080256ee80041e4c7?OpenDocument This is a great example of a simple message being taken on board by the market. The government can, when it puts its mind to it, effectively change a climate of public opinion. Suddenly I start to feel that chocolate advertising seems almost offensive...and WhSmith's 200g of chocolate 'half price with every magazine' offer is positively obnoxious. Isn't it time a similar simple message was be driven through into fitness education...


Don't be embarrassed

Reading this blog may be making you feel confused or angry. That's just fine, but don't be embarrassed about joining the blogerati. Research reviewed at Modern Marketing: Blog Slog II show bloggers and blog readers are among the most successful and affluent on the planet. More than 40% have a household income greater than $90,000 a year. The research doesn't say whether they're nice people or not...so don't get too complacent.

presnick: When Reputation Systems Are Worse Than Useless

Glasshouse associate, Peter Halliday came across this piece of nonsense, implying that upholding a 'good' reputation might occasionally require businesses to behave duplicitously - in order to uphold people's assumptions of what constitutes good behaviour. presnick: When Reputation Systems Are Worse Than Useless In essence it says that fake authenticity, may be a more successful strategy than 'real' authenticity....