Adding value, a marketers slightly cynical view of the latest ‘craft’

I used to say there were two sure-fire ways of adding-value to a product. Adding either of the following two words to a products description usually does the trick. Try adding the words

Wedding or Christmas to the list below and see if you agree?

Cake, Album, Decorations, Venue, Meal, Menu

This magic used to happen when words like ‘Organic, Fair-Trade, Farm-Assured were added to product descriptions but sadly due to consumer ignorance or at least indifference these no longer seem to contain the necessary ‘pixie-dust’.

You get the point. So, imagine my surprise when suddenly a new word has been added to this lexicon that seemingly automatically adds value without the slightest evidence of it actually meaning anything..

Craft

Add the word ‘craft’ to the following:

beer, cheese, bread, coffee, meat etc.

First championed by those beardy people from Shoreditch who seem to have no one to check they had dressed properly yet appear to be authorities on taste and style? Craft is spreading to become a more main-stream description. Now, if this means that we have a new way of communicating care, value and attention to the real craft of food and drink production then this would be unabated good news. However, we already know that this is not the case. So-called marketing departments have already started daubing labels for new products with the word ‘craft’ as if this is just another way of saying ‘finest’ ‘added-value’ ‘premium’ or as the consumer might soon determine; unnecessarily ’expensive’?

So what? Consumer spends more money, producers and processors get to charge more, everyone is a winner? Or perhaps not. The recent issues with Red Tractor Assurance has further undermined the role of producer and means that confidence is an accreditation scheme has been diminished further. (and example would be the social media groups who promote the red in Red Tractor being for the blood of animals)  The consumer already has a poor perception of food and drink especially where animal welfare and the environment are concerned, despite the UK having probably the best welfare and environmental standards in the world. Further compounding of this ignorance by foisting more bunkum on the consumer will potentially make a poor situation worse.

Whose is to blame? Don’t know but suspect it’s opportunist marketing departments in larger food and drink companies driven by the less thoughtful retailers quick to try a tactical advantage. The blame therefore lies with the industry for not being more forthright about what is best practice and what is definitely not.

More people making food and drink products in a traditional manner where safety and security are respected, and the sourcing and selection are paramount would be well worth communicating. It takes more than just dubbing it ‘craft’ though.

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