Can branding and the environment go together? At the face of it, I don’t think they do. Think about the food choices that we have these days. Over here, we are spoilt for choice. Any kind of food is up for grabs in any season, in any form, in any place that we choose to have it from. Heavily processed and elaborately packaged. With at least 10 chemicals added to it. Multiple brands to choose from. Each promoted through various means.
Coming to think of it, I wonder if packaging is the actual culprit, and not branding. May be both. The other day I bought some garlic, some potatoes and some onions! Once and for a long time sold as just commodities, today, even they are not spared from branding. And how could I reuse all those packaging? It adds a great deal of convenience to the shopper and to the seller as well. Merchandise looks glamorous. Even the routine garlic and onions! Berries from Chile. They were so fresh and supple. My one year old didn’t spare any for us. But the agony it gave me was terrible. Looking at the perforated plastic zip lock in which it came to me, I was at my wits’ end.
Croaker. Never frozen. Could be from the neighbouring lake. But, guess what it came in? In a big zip lock! So easy to carry it home – no fear of fish stench leaking into the other purchase. Happy better half who bought it home intact. I took the fish out and then threw the zip pouch out for fear of the fish stench lingering in my kitchen. The details are quite disgusting, but the zip lock smelled so fishy that there was no way I could reuse it. And why break my head over reusing this particular zip lock; many more would find their way into my kitchen soon.
The ready to eat category is quite evolved in this part of the world. I remember having many meetings with a category player in Bangalore who had just ventured into the business. Unable to cope with the grossly under-developed freezer chain in Bangalore/ India, they couldn’t expand their business. We felt sad that we couldn’t partner them in their branding endeavors either. But, looking back, I must feel happy that they did not. Even Reliance had plans to venture big time into the ready-to-eat category. Red-tape or accusations of political favouritism, they couldn’t either. Knowing Reliance, they will soon because there is a huge market out there. But, at least a few years got spared in the mean time.
Talk about Food and Enviorment; one can go on and on. Food – if not local, has to be packaged with a great amount of care, has to undergo lot of processing, has to be shipped, transported from across continents, countries, counties to reach us here and now. Here and now is the guiding force these days. We want everything right here, right now. We are willing to pay any price for it. Little do we realize that our children will pay a huge price for it as they are stepping into a trembling planet with a lopsided eco-system. Is that what we want to leave behind? Just as we urge companies to be guided by the morality of profit, can we be guided by the morality of consumption?
Morality of Consumption.
I earnestly hope it becomes a buzz word, a moot point for introspection and action.