I am torn when it comes to supermarkets. 90% of the time I see them as monopolising giants, trying to minimise range, promote their own home brands, drive down prices on hard working small businesses and also of course, providing ridiculous amounts of processed foods.
Then, there’s the other hand. The fact that supermarkets are in every corner of the globe poses a use to those of us, who want to shape the world with our shopping baskets. I’m certainly not suggesting we abandon our veggie patches and growers markets: Never! But what if that tiny little organic chocolate bar, that would otherwise be in 20 shops nationally, all of a sudden get the chance to be ranged across 1000 stores. That’s a lot of places that people now have visibility of a new / existing ethical, organic brand, no? Isn’t that a good thing, putting it out to consumers to vote? Then, what if that little chocolate bar business gets bought by Kraft, proponents of processed food and GM ingredients. Here me out here. What if, as we make the decision to buy more and more of Kraft’s little sub label, so much so, that it starts to send Kraft a message. A message that says, consumers value organics -that’s where your sales are increasing and everywhere else they’re decreasing. What if that means that in big board rooms over the next decade, as has been happening already, they decide to invest more time and money into organic and sustainable products. What if, the soaring sales of fair trade coffee means that all of a sudden, Nescafe sales plummet and they start to give better shelf space to the Fair trade brands of the world.
You see, while many aspects of a supermarket are indeed often abhorrent, there’s that one idea I wonder about, that it can still a fantastic place and forum for sending direct messages to food marketers. The certainly do respond to market demand. I really wouldn’t care if a company was profiting from sustainable & ethical purchases and that those profits were growing IF that retailer became sustainable and ethical themselves. Would you? So, the next time you pass by a supermarket, perhaps pop in and buy a fair trade item here and an organic something there. Send a little message. Ethical, sustainable brands like TOM organic, Republica Coffee, Madame Flavour teas… I have the great fortune of knowing all 3 women who own those small businesses. All of whom are ranged in either Woolworths or Coles in Australia, our ‘duopoly’ here and all of whom gain much as brands and are able to give much through their fantastic products, by being available so widely.
Would love to know your thoughts and start a conversation! Supermarkets need to change, yes. Do we have the power to change them? Yes.
Have a glorious weekend!