It’s an important point to clarify.
I don’t think consumers are stupid. I don’t hate moms that grab an organic banana instead of a regular one. I don’t think someone is dumb for eating antibiotic free chicken at Panera. I don’t think people are ignorant for being against GMOs.
I just think they’re confused.
None of the choices above are necessarily smart choices, but a lot of times people don’t know any better.
Marketing is a powerful tool and we see it over and over again. Companies like Panera tell consumers to eat their chicken because it is antibiotic-free and healthier. The suggestion, of course, is that if you don’t eat it, you’re making a bad choice for your physical health. They willingly deceive consumers to make a buck.
The term “natural” is everywhere these days. Despite the fact that is has no real meaning, everyone claims everything is “natural.” And when you’re making food choices, why wouldn’t you want to buy something natural? The implication is that the other stuff is unnatural.
Subtle; right? It’s the easy way of saying (without really saying) “our stuff is really good and the other guy’s stuff is really bad.”
Consumers are inundated with advertising these days. It’s everywhere. And, especially on the Internet, there isn’t always a filter.
How many times have we seen anti-GMOers put out fake “scientific” studies about the allegedly horrible effects of biotechnology? Every singe time they’re absolutely false. Yet, some people have bought into it. Why? Because it makes sense. It’s easier to believe it than rationalize why it isn’t right. It’s like knowing ghosts don’t exist, but getting freaked out over a scary movie.
Sometimes, it’s just easier.
But all of this amounts to a culture of fear. If we plant the seed that some stuff is bad, dangerous, going to hurt you, then consumers will start buying the products we want them to buy. That’s the goal behind marketing products with “natural,” spouting the supposed dangers of conventional produce, or demonizing biotechnology. They want to create the culture of fear.
Once a person has been inundated with wrong information, it’s hard to convince them what they think is wrong.
But that’s part of my mission and part of what I hope to accomplish here. Education on these confusing issues, but also calling out the BS.
Farmers’ story needs to be told and, once it is, we can start fighting back about all of this wrong information. We eat the same stuff as our consumers. We feed it to our families. We love the land we work on. We also care a lot about our animals. If we wanted to make an easy buck, we would be doing something else.
Eventually, people will get caught in their lies. At least if I have something to say about it.