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Do You REALLY Want USA Made? Act!

October 28, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany like the supporting the home grown idea. Not just local grown, but USA made, USA grown and other labels that allow USA farms and food processors to keep more of the food dollar. Unfortunately, a “Made in USA” doesn’t always mean it’s a USA product. It might be from out of the USA ingredients.

Does it matter? Does accuracy matter? If it doesn’t what good are labels?

Recently I was looking in a ‘farmer’s market’ section of a popular website. What was currently there and did I want to be involved? In Alabama was a handful of entries. For coffee.

“A very dark blend of Central American coffees, Higher Ground’s French Roast is one of the darkest roasts available. The cup is bold and nutty with a smooth and slightly smoky finish. “

Stop and read carefully…emphasis is mine above. It carried a Made in the USA logo. Coffee is not grown in the USA. Clearly this was purchased and blended here, but a true USA product can be argued.

Consumers who want USA products need to dig deeper. Where was it grown, what are details that indicate the seller – especially in a *farmer’s market* situation isn’t a dealer/reseller? Many don’t want to give up their coffee, and some will give up food choices in order to afford coffee, which is not a USA grown product.

There are many marketing options now that larger companies want to appear to be small in order to get that market. Some are more blatant than others in how they frame the marketing. Does it matter?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you pay extra in order to purchase direct from the farm, what is the breaking point? A penny? A dime? A dollar? At what point do you feel mislead if it’s not what it was claimed to be? To me if someone’s reselling, be honest. There’s still a market, as there are many who don’t care.

Others do. Make your decisions about food and follow up! Unfortunately with the quest for more labels, labels don’t mean much anymore, and not what people think.

If you want heirloom tomatoes does it matter that you’re really getting a hybrid variety? If you want sweet peppers does it matter if hot peppers are slipped in? Isn’t that what honest transparency addresses? Many aren’t so honest, and if folks think about it they would realize it but the disconnect is large.

In Chipotle’s cartoon “Back to the Start” it shows someone deciding to go back to buying from farmers with a few chickens and a small garden. Many like that idea….but is it the idea or the reality that matters? The reality is Chipotle needs volume, and for just three restaurants that means 20,000 chickens on hand at all times. That’s not a few chickens and a garden! Would it matter if the chickens have 2 square feet per bird, and if so does it matter if that’s inside or outside? Does it matter that the beef is imported?

Does it matter if a company promises to do something about ingredients in 3 years? How about if it could be done in one year? How serious does that sound like they are? Meh – we’ll get there when we have to.

Made in America, certified organic, as well as a host of others, should be clear but isn’t. If you are instituting food choices, make sure you’re supporting what you think you are. There are small farms out there needing the sales and market in order to survive. There are others appearing to be small farms that might have better marketing, more volume and lower prices but are large companies just trying to be organic/small/USA/local.

If it doesn’t matter to you then anyone will do. If it does, insure you are dealing with the farm direct.

Because it sure matters to us!


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