Brand Claims – When Pigs Fly

All Food is not Born Equal
We are currently working with food producers around the Cairns region in Australia (Tropical North Queensland) to develop a proposition for their regional food brand. The region is a great reminder of the magic of nature. It is such an incredibly lush and fertile region with diverse eco-systems giving birth to an amazing array of fresh healthy food. A true Garden of Eden.

Great Flying Pig Photo: uk_serendipity (Flickr)

Witnessing the purity of a lot of their produce made me reflect on the growing desire by consumers to understand where their foods come from, and importantly how they were grown. Hence the growing consumption of organics. Such a simple requirement really, some honest packaging or point of sale signs communicating the true origins of the food. But as a country we continue to struggle with this requirement and some less than reputable food producers and retailers are very happy to exploit the soft regulating of food claims.

Even big retail brands, with reputations and brand equity worthy of the utmost respect appear guilty of stretching the truth. Take the recent example of David Jones telling a few ‘porkies’ about their free range pork. The pork they had on sale was labeled free range when in fact the pork they were selling is known as ‘bred free-range’….getting confused? You should be because most consumers are. The term ‘bred free range’ actually means the pigs can access outside areas for the first 25 days after birth and then housed inside and unable to range for the 16-18 weeks before slaughter.

What is a simple definition technicality between pigs you ask? Good question. It certainly is not perceived as a problem by DJ’s.  A media statement from them said…’As there is no law or standard governing the use of the terms ‘free range’ or ‘bred free range’, David Jones is fully compliant with its legal obligations. This is a matter for the regulators.’

Yes, it is a matter for the regulators, but it is also a matter for brand owners who wish build their brand equity on a foundation of integrity. We certainly have a long way to go, and we don’t seem to be getting any closer. As I have said previously both the consumer and the true organic and free range producers are the big losers.

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist

5 Comments

  1. Interesting post Pete. If these organic food brands are built on authenticity – then authenticity require absolute trust. If you can’t trust every brand in the market, then you can trust any brand.

  2. Great post. It is sad to see brands making claims that mislead the consumer. These days it feels like the only way to get the truth about where the food has come from and what is in it, is to go to your local farmer’s market and speak to the grower.

  3. I find it incredible that such a respected brand intends to mislead its target market and uses the 1960s approach of ‘it’s one for the regulators.’

    No it isn’t. It is one for you, as the brand owner. Consumers are simply going to assume they are lied to in all communications and will stop believing anything the brand tells them. Eventually, they’ll move on to a competitor.

  4. Big listed companies like DJ’s, Coles, Woolies & Costco will continue to mislead in order to dominate the fresh food world!
    Shop local with specialists like your Butcher, Baker & Candle Stick Maker. They are your direct link to the farmers and growers of Australia’s fine produce. Just because you say your a Farmer, or at a farmers market does not make you an ethical producer. Remember produce is seasonal, so be cautious. If that same bloke flogging organic carrots is at your local market every week there is something amiss!
    Coles also just got done in court for the same misleading advertising, putting Free Range marketing material over cheap, factory farmed produce.
    Build a relationship with your local providores, they know food and you’ll often save more as your getting value for money!
    Love this article…..

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