Monday, June 11, 2007

Trendwatching dot Com's Take on Product "Life Storying"

Trendwatching's June/July 2007 briefing is titled (Still) Made Here and is worth reading (their briefing's are free; their annual reports are not). The title defined by Trendwatching:

"(STILL) MADE HERE encompasses new and enduring manufacturers and purveyors of the local. In a world that is seemingly ruled by globalization, mass production and ‘cheapest of the cheapest’, a growing number of consumers are seeking out the local, and thereby the authentic, the storied, the eco-friendly and the obscure."

For example, applying this to foodstuffs, you may wish to buy vegetables at your local farmers' market, co-op, or some up-scale retailer, and not from a bargain-priced mega mart. Or you may wish to purchase cabinets from a local craftsperson instead of from a famous retailer whose designs may be local in origin but whose products are "globally sourced."

Naturally, in order to indulge in such discriminating appetites you will pay a premium. But you are clever enough to imagine that river-caught fish fr
om the Pacific Northwest is preferred over the latest shipment from Zhanjiang Harbor, and you trust somehow that your relatively expensive brand of domestic toothpaste doesn't use diethyline glycol as a sweetener (even if the practice is legal in the country of manufacture).

The idea of life storying is something most of us are already familiar with, if not by name. It's really all about the origin of what we consume, and how it got to us. Especially important when concerning foods -- recall the recent California spinach contamination.

So, to know where it's been before appearing on your table, will produce be tagged, like so:

As the article suggests, such tags that can be read by a mobile device will be very nifty. Considering the full cost of the product the tag cost will be negligible. It's easy to imagine distribution of tag printers to even small agricultural enterprises. I'm not aware of it happening yet in the US, but it's interesting to read that in the UK, even individual eggs are sometimes tracked.

It's ironic that guaranteed wholesome foods produced by socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs will be priced such that only the relatively well off can afford them.

1 comment:

crusader88 said...

Individual eggs. That reminds me of the time on the 90s classic Kenan & Kel that Kenan went about pricing individual grapes in the convenience store where he worked. Sure, in the show someone bought 3 individual grapes, but in reality is all the fuss really worth it?