Trust Us…..It’s Natural

by Vicki on February 14, 2014

How much do you think about your food?

Do you care about where your food comes from? How it is grown? How much it has been treated/processed (or not!)? Do you read labels?

Even if you care a lot about the food you eat and spend time trying to nourish yourself well, it should come as no surprise that big food industry has a vested interest in you continuing to buy products that are not so good for you.

You might be thinking, “I’m much savvier about the food I eat than I used to be. I can’t be led into eating foods that are bad for me without making a choice to do so.”

Enter the “natural” trend in food marketing.

“All-natural” and “natural” claims are among the most commonly used claims on new food products, and annual sales of products with “natural” claims are more than $20 billion.

But many products that claim to be “natural” are filled with stuff you couldn’t find in nature – including chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup and genetically engineered ingredients.

Recent studies show that many people believe that “natural” products are free of pesticides or genetically engineered ingredients.

And some people believe that “natural” food is better for the environment than organic food. In fact, one survey found that people are twice as likely to think that “natural” food is free of artificial ingredients.

So what exactly does “natural” mean when it comes to food advertising? Turns out… means nothing.

A clever (and really funny) new campaign to promote USDA certified organics helps consumers understand the difference between products labeled organic and those that are labeled as “natural.”

Here is the short version of the campaign.

If it strikes a chord with you, the longer version is also worth a watch.

And if you are an animal lover, here is one that targets the “natural” label on kibble bags.

Going forward, I’ll be doing a better job of keeping Eric Schlosser’s (Fast Food Nation) advice in mind as I navigate the grocery store –

If they have to put the word ‘natural’ on a box to convince you, it probably isn’t.

*Of course organic producers also want to sell their foods. To read about the standards they must meet to be certified as USDA organic, click here.


Over the past few weeks, my eyes have been especially open to the plethora of excellent online resources that are available for “free”.

I really shouldn’t be surprised since through the years of working with PROVOKE, some of our greatest discoveries for clients have occurred through online methods – you would be amazed what a bit of time, some superior sleuthing skills and plain old persistence can unearth!

Below, I’ve showcased a few of the resources that I have especially enjoyed recently –

Pinterest – I didn’t get the full power of this site the first time I visited. As described by Pinterest:

Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.

The site is visually stunning and the potential of what you could accomplish (personal or work wise) is impressive.

YouTube – No matter what you need to learn, somebody has probably created a video to help you with the task or to grow your understanding. From how to seal a new concrete floor, to how to create a blog, to developing a better understanding of Twitter – You Tube can help. If in doubt on how to accomplish a task, don’t forget to give YouTube a try.

Various food bloggers – There are just so many to choose from. Whether you are a novice or a professional in the kitchen, food blogs have something to offer you. Perhaps it is the social psychologist in me, but I find it fascinating that so many people electronically document (through stories, videos and pictures) what they and their families consume on a daily basis.

Here are some of my most recent go to sites for food –
Simple Bites
Dinner with Julie
Eating Rules

Feedly – This newsreader has changed the way I consume information on the web. The feel and visual of the reader is much like a magazine – you can customize the reader to deliver the content you want to read in the way that you want to read it (i.e., various layouts). As described on the website –

Feedly is a news reader for creative minds, a simple and elegant way to read and share the content of your favorite sites.

It is easy to install (just a few seconds) and is available on iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

In the spirit of sharing resources…I’d love to hear from our followers what online gems you have unearthed. Anyone care to share?

And for anyone who is interested in the notion of free and how it can be applied as a business strategy, take a look at Chris Anderson’s book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price and his assertion that information wants to be free. If you have been considering how to incorporate “free” into your offering, this is the book to get your cognitive wheels turning.


Low Trust = High Costs

by Vicki on April 9, 2010

I’ve just returned from what should have been a lovely afternoon grocery-shopping trip. The store wasn’t crowded, no long line-ups to pay, and we even bumped into a friend while we were there.

What made the trip less than optimal? A distinct lack of trust. Trust in labels, trust in health claims on the packaging, trust about how the food was grown and produced, really a lack of trust in the food in general – all of which have emerged since I started reading and thinking more about the food we eat (if you want to know what made me start thinking about food, please see Relating Through Food).

This experience led me to think about broader issues of trust within relationships and specifically what our valued contacts had to say during the PROVOKE Relationship Project about the importance of trust.

Respondents clearly stated throughout the conversations that trust is a hallmark of healthy relationships and lack of trust a clear indicator of relationship distress. We heard that when trust is lost in relationships, stakeholders question minute details, monitor behavior and reevaluate their choices (exactly what I did as I chose what to put in my cart). These behaviors distance the primary stakeholders, add costs, increase expected deliverables, slow adaptability and reduce flexibility.

Conversely, the presence of trust in relationships enables cooperation, promotes network relationships, reduces harmful conflict, decreases transaction costs, and facilitates the effective functioning of groups and effective responses to crises (Rousseau et al., 1998).

It is clear that broken trust has serious costs. So, do the work and invest in the relationships you have. The investment of time and effort to develop and maintain healthy trusting relationships will be much less than the cost of mending the outcomes of broken trust.

Rousseau, D., Sitkin, S., Burt, R., & Camerer, C. (1998). Not so different after all: A cross discipline view of trust. Academy of Management Review, 23, 405–421.


Relating Through Food

April 2, 2010

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the food we eat. It all started when I saw a TV program showcasing the recent documentary, Food Inc. The host of the program chatted with Michael Pollan, a journalist profiled in the documentary, who has been on a mission to educate the masses on what we consume. Listening to […]

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