Has food labelling had its day?


The internet is changing business. Both of Chris Anderson’s brilliant books The Long Tail and Free are a pretty awakening experience, it’s like having your eyes opened to, literally, a world of opportunity. You can now get Chris’ book free of charge on Google books, but in a world of “Free” how do you make money?

The the local/high quality food sector is growing rapidly in this country as the Internet helps niche producers to find their corresponding niche consumers, or rather be found by them. What this part of the food industry currently lacks to push it over the edge is:

1. A suitable distribution newtork, like the kind that already existed for books and films before Amazon


2. An internet aggregator site like Amazon, Rhapsody or Netflix that can run filter algorythms to help you find the ideal food product tailored just for you.

There are clear opportunities here – something spotted already by Big Barn and Food Lovers Britain – Big Barn are also looking at distribution networks and if they get it right could be massive.

Once this is in place – and it wont be long – will we still need labels like “Organic”, “Freedom Foods”? and will “local” even be as important? The internet is becoming a huge sieve of quality and if your customer satisfaction rating is not up there or your product isn’t bang on then your “organic”, “freedom foods” stickers won’t help much.

Customer recommendation has always been the key marketing tool for successful small businesses, the Internet just magnifies the difference in quality. Small food producers with genuine quality products and great customer service will be rewarded by the extra scrutiny. Those that ride the local food wave, surfing on the brand/food standards labels without authenticity will be found out. A seller’s rating on ebay is far more trusted than clever marketing these days.

In a supermarket the labels still count. You can’t ask the shelf stacker how the the beef on the shelf was fed. But as more food shopping moves on-line will these labels survive? and who will become the quality food aggregator to push them off the cliff?



1 Response so far »

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    […] blogged hereit comes down the the amount of choice people have about quality local food. The Internet is […]

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