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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

WEEKLY Q: Mainstream organic good?

Is Sainsbury's starting up an organic box scheme good or bad?

Supermarkets are not good for farmers which is why we try to shift away from supermarkets. But most people never get near a box scheme for various reasons and so surely a supermarket launching an organic box scheme means that more people will become exposed to box schemes for the first time. And that must be good right?

Dan Bailey makes some great comments on that post and I have to admit his logic is tempting. However for me this remains a positive development. And this is why.

Customers of supermarkets who purchase an organic box will either be those who do not currently get such a box or those who cannot afford the high prices of independent schemes. Not gonna discuss the latter group.

But the non-converted first group will be buying fresh, local, seasonal, organic produce from Sainsbury's instead of buying not so fresh, not so seasonal, not so local, not so organic produce, again from Sainsbury's. So either way that group will be buying from Sainsbury's. At least with a box scheme you have a supermarket claiming ethical high ground, high ground to which they can be held.

If Sainsbury's were to screw farmers involved in the box scheme can you imagine the bad PR that farmer could cause Sainsbury's. 'Ethical Farmer gets screwed by Supermarket pretending to be ethical.'

If Sainsbury's want to offer something ethical then they had sure as hell better make sure it is whiter than white, or should that be greener than green. I suspect they know that and have much higher standards hence the cost.

Anything less during this mass greening of our world would be corporate suicide for any companies green credentials.




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