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Bill Crawford's Blog

Fresh Organic Food For Sale Here

Harvey Mackay is the author of such best-selling books as Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive. This column and all of his columns (as well as information about his books, podcasts, speaking, etc.) are on his website - (As of this morning, his most current column wasn't posted, but I am sure that it will be soon.)

He tells the story of a fish market putting up a sign - “Fresh Fish For Sale Here” After the sign is up, they are told that they don’t need the word “Fresh” – or the word “Here” – or the word “For Sale” – or, come to think about it, even the word “Fish.”

The sign came down – and the business went away.

The column packaged this as great marketing lesson – and I do agree! (It is surely being added to some material for an upcoming Managerial Marketing course that I’m teaching!) However, looking at this story in the context of the natural and organic marketplace, I had some thoughts as to who we are reaching with our message.

I read a survey in February that stated that due to the current economic challenges, some 60% of surveyed grocery shoppers would be cutting down on or eliminating their purchases of organic foods. They felt that the price differential between organic and convention foods was too high given the difficult times that they were facing or that they were afraid that they would be facing.

However, that same survey said that the for over 60% of shoppers a primary concern when shopping for foods (even in this current economy) was that that were free from pesticides, chemical preservatives and the like. They planned to seek out more of those foods.

Reading this, you and I know that the same people who are going to cut down on organics and are looking to buy more organics. How can this be?

Simple – they don’t know what an organic product is.

Even with the decade of impressive growth that organic products in all categories have had, this shows that many people buying them do not know what they are buying.

They think that organic is a cool, trendy fad. They see our products on TV and hear about celebrities eating and using them. They know that natural foods stores, Whole Foods, and special sections in leading grocery stores have it – and they are buying it because it is the “in” thing to do. BUT – when times are tough, they are going to get something else.

They don’t see it as an investment in their health as by its very definition organic products are free of the pesticides and chemicals that they are looking to avoid.

How can they be so unaware?

Our message has not gotten through.

Everybody knows that the fish store sells fresh fish – so why do they need a sign?

“Everybody” knows about organics – so why are we still talking about it?

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