Decades ago ‘ Fat’ was the devil, it is still but ‘Sugars’ have emerged as bigger devil because sugar contributes in a major way to the calories that we eat. ‘Added sugars’ will be clearly indicated on the new labels in US. The changes may come in couple of years but US has taken the first step now all eyes are on Health Canada to see if they also come up with similar consumer friendly food labels. In 1993 Health Canada did set up label guidelines for genetically derived foods, but lot of water has passed the bridge since then; it’s time to reflect and revamp not just the labels but also the inspection procedures so that consumers get ‘nutritional value’ for their money
Sometime ago it was reported that a Mediterranean bakery in Vancouver has been supplying non-organic bread after mislabeling it as organic bread. The bakery has Bosa Foods and Whole Foods as its big customers. The bakery produces organic bread for local restaurants as well. The owner of the bakery has admitted that he has not used organic flour from July 2006 to September 2009. This is cheating and betrayal of trust of consumers.
Then there were reports of organic produce having traces of pesticides way above the approved limit. The mean cost for organic items in a survey was 68 percent higher than for non-organic. This means we pay more thinking we are getting healthier and quality products but in reality it is not the case.
100 percent organic: To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
Organic: Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.
And if that’s not all there have been incidents of customer information theft on regular intervals, most recent one being the credit card information theft of 70 million customers of Target during Holidays.
Now the question is, should we trust brands like Whole Foods, Target or for providing us best of products and services, they charge us for? Is the customer being short changed and fooled under the garb of ‘Customer is the King’.
Answer to these questions is that customers need to understand that big brands have whole marketing machinery in place and they can make or break a trend. Compensation in terms of discounts, freebies, rollbacks is nothing but a gimmick to make customers forget about the nightmare they have been subjected to by the companies. Consumers need to educate themselves, ask questions, be alert and do not forget.
Stringent rules and regulations and regular inspection can prevent these mischiefs. Government on all three levels has to setup strong deterrent to safe guard consumer rights, after all consumers are voters.