When is local produce really not local at all?
As a follow-up to our story about Safeway Grocery stores mislabeling some produce as “local” comes this article in the Missoula Independent on “Localwashing”. Some quotes:
This new variation on corporate greenwashing—localwashing—is, like the buy-local movement itself, most advanced in the context of food. Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand owned by the processed-food giant Unilever, is test-driving a new “Eat Real, Eat Local” initiative in Canada. The ad campaign seems aimed partly at enhancing the brand by simply associating Hellmann’s with local food. But it also makes the claim that Hellmann’s is local, because most of its ingredients come from North America.
It’s not the only industrial food company muscling in on local. Frito-Lay’s new television commercials use farmers as pitchmen to position the company’s potato chips as local food, while Foster Farms, one of the largest producers of poultry products in the country, is labeling packages of chicken and turkey “locally grown.”
For anyone confused by this display, the campaign and its media partners, including Comcast and the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee, followed the press conference with more than $250,000 worth of radio, TV and print ads that spelled it out: “Just so you know, buying local means any store in your community: mom-and-pop stores, national chains, big box stores—you name it.”
You can read the entire article in the Missoula Independent here. It’s worth the time.
” A report published by Hartman last year noted, “There is a belief that you can only be local if you are a small and authentic brand. This isn’t necessarily true; big brands can use the notion of local to their advantage as well.” Barry explains: “Big companies have to be much more creative in how they articulate local…It’s a different way of thinking about local that is not quite as literal.”
Thank you for posting this article…I was so blown away by this paragraph…advertising speak and political speak…amazing( not in a good way)
Why do they think we are so stupid?? Why???
Nancy Rommelmann says
On an ancillary note: has anyone seen the new Miracle Whip commercials on TV, where it’s being branded as the hip alternative condiment? Saw it with my teenager and a bunch of her friends, who looked at the TV as though they were smelling something bad.
Miracle Whip is the only acceptable dressing for macaroni salad w/frozen peas & canned tuna.
This, of course, does not address the issue of whether it is ever acceptable to make or consume said salad.
30 years ago I used to use it on a fine tasting bologna Wonderbread sammy. Didn’t know any better, do now.
They think we are so stupid because most of “us” are stupid.
That reminds me of one of my favorite George Carlin quotes: “Think how smart the average American is. Now realize half the people are dumber than that!”
Spice Guy says
Now all of North America is local? Shame on you Hellman’s (known as Best Foods, west of the Rockies)! Foster Farms actually does process chicken in Oregon in Creswell, no hormones, no antibiotics. Support your (truly) local purveyor!
edible portland’s Deborah Kane speaks of this in the latest issue.
Also, I have to rescind my tolerant attitude of the “Locally Grown” signs at Safeway – could they be any more random? They may as well say “Lost White Cat” they are placed so irrelevantly. I would love to hear one of their greengrocers take on the whole thing.
The Independent has done a couple of follow-ups on Safeway specifically. This one is especially damning:
Safeway also purchases local peaches and Flathead cherries from local farms. But the store’s packing requirements force cherry growers to ship the fruit more than 400 miles to Domex Superfresh Growers in Yakima, Wash., before being re-imported to Montana, says Dale Nelson, president of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers.