Food and Corporate
Hey everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We had some interesting and relatable readings for today (at least to me). First I want to talk about the Guilabert and Wood one regarding organic foods. They found a correlation between peoples beliefs about the word “organic” and if they were more likely to buy organic labeled food. Many people linked the word “organic” with meaning the food was healthier and had more health benefits than normal food. Some connected it with living longer and getting sick less often. The researchers propose that USDA might need to update how they label things since the USDA organic label can mean so much.
To me, organic can be a little confusing. I’ve heard things from trusting the USDA standard is ok to trust absolutely nothing unless you grow it yourself or know the person that grows it. I see truths in both of these things. Just because one farm is “organic” doesn’t mean the farm next door is also organic and when it rains and pesticides and unnatural things wash from one farm to the other even the organic farm isn’t so organic anymore. How can we ever know if that it the case though? I think it is good to have a USDA standard but I don’t whole-heartedly believe in that meaning that it is truly organic. On the extreme of growing your own food or knowing your farmer- I think this would be ideal. In a place like Harrisonburg where you can go to the farmers market basically year round and get to know your farmers I think we should! Farmers markets are getting more popular and I think they are great. They might not all be organic farms but you can normally ask the people or they have information about their farms at the market. I am scouting some farmers markets here in NYC and hope to find some good ones and see what they have going on. Organic isn’t the end all be all to me but I do think it is important to know exactly what you are putting into your body and to be able to trust and understand what these labels mean. What do you all think about the word “organic”? Do you prefer to buy organic foods? When I’m buying things with labels I normally look at the ingredients and if there is a bunch of sketchy stuff I’d rather not. I love seeing real ingredients spelled out so I know what is in the product. I stumbled upon this video about GMOs and Prop 37 in California. Prop 37 states that companies need to put everything on labels including when food have GMOs (genetically modified organisms). I am all about that because I find it sneaky and misleading not to tell us if there are GMOs in our food. I like the video too because it is about graffiti which I just think is cool. Check it out!
The cereal article from Thomson really caught my attention because I felt it was relatable. I can vividly remember watching Saturday morning cartoon with my brother and seeing a commercial for Reeses puffs, Cinnamon toast crunch, French toast crunch (remember that one?!), Trix etc. We loved junk cereal and my Mom HATED it. She would say we had to mix a healthy cereal with the junk so we would be picking out and choking down bran flakes so we could finally enjoy the junk mixed in. She has an important point that it is not fair to market, especially so intensely like with these games, to young children because they can’t understand that the commercials are supposed to be persuasive and make you want the cereal.
Example from my childhood: This isn’t Food related but my Mom and I still get a good laugh out of it today so I thought I’d share. I have really curly hair and that was never the hair to have when I was growing up so I wanted straight hair like all the other girls. I was too young to have any heat tools or anything so I always wondered how I could get my hair straight. I would always see commercials for Loreal kids shampoo (remember it came in the bottle that looked like a fish and smelt like candy?) In the commercials these kids would wash their hair and then, like magic, it was silky and straight and blowing while they were on the swings or running through a playground. I was SO excited. I asked my Mom if I could get the silky smooth Loreal kids the next time we were at the store and as soon as I got home I showered, brushed my hair for a solid 30 minutes, and went to bed excited to see what it would look like in the morning. To my surprise and disappointment my hair was not silky and straight. It was still curly and frizzy and I didn’t understand why. My Mom enlightened me that saying it would make my hair silky and smooth didn’t mean it would straighten it and just because the people on the commercial had straight hair it didn’t mean my hair would be straight. It was a sad day for a small child with big hair. Since everyone in the commercial had straight hair and the advertisement kept saying things like “silky” and “smooth” I truly believed it would transform my hair.
While I don’t believe marketing to children in right, I can see both sides of the argument. The record label I am interning for has Arianna Grande and Austin Mahone signed to it and has made me see how huge of a market there is for younger people. Any type of social media posts about either of those artist get a crazy amount of interaction within minutes because their fans are so intensely engaged. Also, these younger people have disposable income or parents who will buy stuff for them. It’s definitely different since we are selling music, none of which is carrying a bad message or is vulgar and these cereal companies are selling something that can be very harmful to kids. Still I wonder- is it the companies job to change their marketing or is it the parents/guardians/teachers/etc. job to educate the children? Even though I can see why people with a product that makes a lot of money off children would market how they are marketing, I don’t think it’s right. The sad part is do we just want these companies to shut down? If their thing is sugary kids cereal and we want that gone then they don’t exist anymore but what about all the people who would lose their jobs? I guess they could revamp their brand like we have seen sometimes with sugary cereals saying “whole grain”. But, they would actually have to change the product a little more so it wasn’t so processed and so sugary. It is a tough debate because why would they spend money to make a huge change and maybe lose customers? In my perfect world we wouldn’t make things that are harmful for children but could we actually get everyone on board with this?
I know I through a lot of questions out so here’s a little summary of things to think about:
– Your thoughts on organic food/labeling?
– Do you prefer organic food?
– What’s your favorite childhood cereal (soley because I’m curious- mine was Cinnamon toast crunch)
– Was there a time you have been tricked by an advertisement?
– Should companies not be allowed to market specifically to children?
Looking forward to hearing from you all!
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