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Posts Tagged ‘organic food’

There’s a degree of hypocrisy among many well meaning folk with fundamentally good intentions but closed minds. They hear or read a little about something and become disciples of the cause, without really understanding anything about the process or ‘thing’ they’re advocating.

Everything is fundamentally recyclable or capable of re-use for some purpose other than which it was originally created, and at the risk of being called a heretic, being recyclable is not ‘the holy grail’ when making a product choice. The order for thinking people who really want to minimise their planetary impact should be (a.) do I need to consume this? (b.) is this the most sustainable option? (c.) am I compromising my personal tastes or quality standards? (d.) do I have the means to afford my choice?

Embracing product sustainability as opposed to base level recyclability is the next step we need to teach the masses, which is quite a technically challenging communication to execute.

Most folk don’t want detail; they’re happy to know a little about something and to close their minds to any ignorance. That is human nature, so we shouldn’t knock it, but I do so appreciate consumers who take the time to ask why, and who more importantly, open their minds to listen to the answer.

To bring today’s piece around to bottled water (as you’re expecting me to); portable packaged water is a unique product within a media driven customer psyche. The ‘moral’ decision for ‘planet conscious’ consumers is whether to ever buy into this product category at all. Bear witness the small Australian town of Bundanoon’s recent headline grabbing bottled water ban, which I’ve previously blogged on.

Considering the alternatives are either fattening, contain sugars, additives or alcohol, most thinking people will accept the necessary evil of a pure beverage as a distress solution when there is no tap accessible. That doesn’t oblige consumption; it simply allows choice for when one doesn’t choose to hydrate with any of the aforementioned alternatives.

As customer focussed businesses, retailers and caterers are obliged to service customer needs, so they cannot be criticised too severely for stocking this product category, however, their commitment to CSR should be challenged…

A well thought out CSR policy must drive a sustainable procurement approach – one where satisfying customer needs in an ecologically sensitive way, without compromising product quality, is appropriately weighted on the ‘decision scorecard’ being used.

A parochial approach to bottled water so often leads to customer choice being restricted to whichever bottled water is packaged closest to where it’s being consumed, irrespective of its quality or true ecological impact. This geographic weighting ignores the genuine attributes of products which often come from further away, yet are proven to ‘cost less’ on any correctly weighted ecologically motivated score card.

Think inside the box – we’re only custodians of this maginificent planet, and it really does make sense! 🙂

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As it’s officially earth day, and in consideration of a successful first ever VAT inspection, I figured 2 blogs might be forgiven at this (special to me) time. Besides the video going up on youtube (see the blog below) or check it out on the right – whatever – it’s a great time to talk about nitrates again.

Nitrates are the stuff that differentiates Aquapax from the majority of other bottled waters, mainly because Aquapax is virtually nitrate free (trace elements only) – why, because the water comes from under a nature reserve and there’s no commercial farming in the area! (you mean you haven’t read the package?)

Most of my other references to nitrates have been from very dry and gradually becoming outdated documents from the world health organisation (WHO) or the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) – isn’t inspectorate an odd word?

Check this out for some easy to read self education from those clever folks at Colorado State University, on what nitrates are and why you should probably avoid them. OK there’s no cure for stupidity, but at least try to protect your kids if you have any…

Colorado State is historically an agricultural school, so it’s incumbent on them to be on top of things like this and make it relevant to the public. I do hope you can take the time to read this – and perhaps pass it on to any parents you know who buy bottled water without reading the ingredient list.

‘Think inside the box’ or just drink Aquapax still applies if this is all getting too technical… 🙂

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Not a subject line you’d initially think of as being a problem, but the opportunities to help others seems to be taking up an inordinate amount of time lately…

It’s currently gone midnight and I’ve just finished reading the YE (young enterprise) submissions I’m helping judge tomorrow evening over in East Grinstead. The YE scheme is absolutely great at encouraging young people to look at business in a slightly different way and I commend HSBC for their involvement and commitment to this noble CSR initiative; it’s only when you’ve experienced something that you’re actually ‘qualified’ to comment on it and YE allows students to understand a little more about how business and an economy works – or doesn’t work as the case may be.

I’m still following up on the opportunities uncovered Monday during my customer tasting session at Planet Organic in Torrington Place. It was the first time I’d been there during their busy lunch time rush and I do mean ‘rush’. There seemed to be lots of connections though and encouraging e-mails always make positive reading. I’ve another demo at their store in Westbourne Grove on Friday, so it will be interesting to compare the customer responses from the different parts of town.

Today has been pretty encouraging all round really, as it started with a positive meeting with our Brighton distributor Infinity Foods, followed by a session with the Sussex University School of Engineering and Design. The second year students are working on a fresh feel for Aquapax, following customer feedback that the eco-credentials of our paper carton aren’t immediately obvious to people seeing an Aquapax for the first time.

It’s interesting how people either get it and love it, or put up real resistance and want to share their reasons why they’re resistant. In a sales context, this is great, as people are mostly engaging with us at one of the two levels. It’s the customers who listen to the proposition, ask the questions and then buy the cheap bottled water full of nitrates that confuse me – I question the rationale of buying ‘organic food’ because it hasn’t been contaminated by pesticides, only to buy bottled water which declares their presence on the label.  Remember ‘think inside the box’ – or at least try to.

Back to the student designs earlier – some of them show real design promise and you can see they’re in their correct profession already – one had a great big picture of a baby on the front – to signifiy Aquapax mineral water is suitable for babies. Everyone laughed initially, but the more I think about its beautiful simplicity, the more appealing it becomes. I am too close though, so I’m hoping to work with one of the supermarket buyers to refine the next iteration Aquapax design before moving to a production version.

A quick glance at e-mails and the website before bed shows we’ve had a few rather nice enquiries in today which I probably would have been better off concentrating on this evening rather than ploughing my way through the student reports. Life is like this sometimes; the opportunity to help others doesn’t present itself every day – it just seems to happen at the busy times, when there’s also lots of opportunities to help yourself pulling at your energy reserves…  Good idea to get some sleep now though – at least I can tackle my own opportunities in the morning.  Sleep tight (whatever that means)…zzz

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