In a previous blog I explored the impact false claims pertaining to the organic status of certain products have on the authenticity, and hence equity of their brands. It is not surprising that there is also interest in the other false claims that regularly play out on some product packaging. Last year I had the pleasure of spending a day wandering around fresh produce markets in London with the enthusiastic and talented food marketer Rob Ward www.foodmarketingnetwork.com.
Rob is a strong advocate of the leverage available to food brands who legitimately position themselves around the positive attributes associated with their region of origin. Provenance has the potential to convey positive meaning and build emotional connection, something every brand is aspiring to do, and exactly why many brands stretch the truth. Rob passionately regularly reels of examples, …’did you know a Pork Pie labeled as ‘British Produced’, can have imported pork? Or that Norwegian Salmon can be smoked in Scotland and called Scottish Salmon. Or that Beef reared in England can be slaughtered in Scotland and called Scottish Beef?
Given Rob makes a living out of working with brands who have an authentic claim to valued provenance attributes, it is not surprising that he has decided to take a little action. He has recently launched a web site www.honestlabelling.com with the intention of celebrating the honest expressions of brands on pack and shaming the brands who have chosen to stretch the truth about who they are.
We all know that in marketing perception is reality and therefore if food producers can create a perception that their brand is produced in a particular region or country, even if it means stretching the truth a little, they will continue to do it. Frankly, in the end many will only change if the the Law or Government Regulations force them to, unless of course the likes of Rob Ward can shame them into changing. It is a big ask, but we wish Rob well… when I have finished my Scottish Salmon sandwich I may even jump on board your activist’s brand wagon.