I suppose with all this conversing about food, farms and what the consumer wants – what I want because although I am a farmer I also consume things – taking note of food marketing efforts is only natural. But this week alone, I’ve had three instances of sitting up to take note.
I was doing dishes last week when a commercial for Philadelphia Cream Cheese came on. Rarely, do I pay attention to commercials, but I heard the word “local” and snapped to attention. Hit the rewind button. (I think that’s cool we can pause, rewind and stop live TV.) “What did I hear?” Yep, the scene is a happy family in a sunny kitchen and the voiceover starts, “We start with local cream . . .”
I had to pause and rewind a couple times. Local cream? What does local mean to a massive brand like Philadelphia? I did a little poking around online and discovered that the Philly factory is located in New York, so I’m assuming that some of their cream comes from local dairy farms.
Fast forward to a few days later and on my way into town, a billboard caught my eye. “Culvers: Family Farm Fresh.” I have seen the Culvers commercials with co-founder Craig Culver visiting with farmers who supply the restaurant with beef, chicken and cheese.
Then today, fellow agvocate, Janice Wolfinger of fortheloveofbeef posted this picture of a Welch’s Fruit Snack pack. “Family Farmer Owned”.
I guess I’m struggling with the overuse of these words, struggling with the reality that marketers have to say food comes from a farm, struggling with the reality that not everyone is aware that food starts on a farm.
I suppose using local and family farm and farm fresh are evidence of truth in marketing. And I suppose I should be grateful that large food products companies and restaurants are giving credit to the people at the beginning of the food chain.
But, I fear that one day the words “family farm” is going to lose its buzz, if it hasn’t happened already. Local and all-natural, sustainable and organic will become just another word on the label and marketers will need to find new ways to describe what is wrapped in that colorful packaging.
Then what words will we use to describe our farms?