I lived in Germany for nearly 40 years. It is one of the richest countries in Europe, with the lowest food prices overall – this has to do with the big success of so called “discounters” like Norma, Penny, ALDI, Lidl and others and for sure, with the customer behavior (“cheap is cool”). There, any advertising of food is a picture of the product (always shiny and in best shape) and with the price to it per weight or item or whatsoever in very large print. Is there a correlation, that Germany has the most food scandals is Europe? Every 5th pig in Germany doesn´t survive because of how it is stalled and is dying before old enough to be butchered. Most of the animals are getting Beta Blocker, Growth Hormones and Antibiotics to manage the stress caused by being stalled with so many others so narrow and to keep them from getting ill. Do we really believe, that these medications are no longer virulent, when we get the meat on our dishes? In some areas in Germany, where all the big “farms” are with thousands of pigs in it, the water is so full of antibiotics, that the really sick people in hospitals are getting less and less medicine, which is still effective to kill the bacteria.
How is it here in the US? Looking into the advertising, there is no big difference – just the price is mentioned, nothing about how the animals were treated or grown in a real farmland environment. I do understand, that there is a part of the population, where every dollar counts. You don´t have time or money? See it during your life span, maybe eating just cheap food, regardless where it is coming from, will cost you a fortune of co-pay in 20-25 years during surgery in hospital. Maybe you have later to invest a lot of time, waiting for treatments, for dialyses or kidney decease or maybe something even more serious.
Do you remember the time, when companies had along with their Mission and Vision a statement about Corporate Citizenship, with bullet points, what positive they do for the community? Gone. Why? Because we don´t care, it seems, that all we want, is cheap!
Who could change it? The people in Washington, DC, our Senator, or? No, it is on us to change our behavior, wherever we act. Each product we buy is voting for, in a certain way, how this product was produced. If we just buy cheap, we will get cheap. And we have a lot of power. Maybe we are not aware of it: the consumer has changed, how eggs are produced, or? No longer cage-eggs, full of pharmaceuticals! One of the cheapest ways to eat healthy, is to prepare vegetables, you could bring a full plate for your family on the table for some bucks. Yes, you have to do more than just opening a prepared “industrialized” food and put it into the microwave.
Once a wise woman told the audience: “Anything, which comes into your mouth, should be first class!” The meaning was not Champagne and Caviar, it was food and drinks that supports and protects your health. Every decision, everyday counts; with a million or more over our lifetime, what you eat determines of what your body consists. If you live long, if you live healthy, if you have less diseases or the opposite of all that. When you look around, you will notice a lot of people, committing suicide with knife and forks.
We are all buyers, we are all purchasers every day, but with that, we have the responsibility to do the best for ourselves and for the people we serve, regardless, if it is our family or company.